Thursday, February 26, 2009

Shrinking streets of Metro Manila

Lately, many streets of Metro Manila have been "shrinking" and I guess, is true elsewhere in the country. In our street alone in Makati, outside the CBD, until 2 years ago, street parking was allowed for only one side. I notice that since late last year and this year, both sides of the road are now filled with cars everyday.

Average speed of cars and vehicles naturally falls as the streets become virtually narrower. So when these vehicles get out of crowded streets, they speed up to compensate for lost time in narrow streets. And it's here where plenty of accidents happen.

The government is very bright in creating various taxes for vehicles and motorists. Every year, its revenues keep rising from (a) vehicle registration tax, (b) road users tax, (c) import tax + VAT + excise tax for petroleum products, (d) drivers' license fee, (e) franchise tax for public vehicles, etc. How come the government does not expand or lengthen some roads, or build more bridges across Pasig river, or build more fly-overs and/or skyways? Where does the money go?

In addition, government transportation officials make plenty of rackets, mainly from (a) smoke emission test fee before a vehicle's registration is renewed, (b) drug test fee and medical test fee for driver's license application and renewal. These 2 type of mandatory fees are not tax, the revenue does not go to the government because the testing centers undertaking the exercise are "private".

One way to solve the ever-expanding street parking, is to allow more multi-level private parking areas. Which means bureaucracies and multiple taxes and mandatory fees for builders of such structures should be reduced and minimized.

When I was in Germany late last year, I noticed there very few instances of cars parked on the streets. In many areas, you don't see any vehicle parked on the street, there are always open spaces, public free parking or private pay-parking, to accommodate motorists.

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