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Nightmare on Kuwait streets: 100,000 cars chase 60,000 parking bays

Vehicles travel on the First Ring Road in Kuwait City November 10, 2012. Picture taken November 10. REUTERS/Stephanie Mcgehee

Vehicles travel on the First Ring Road in Kuwait City November 10, 2012. Picture taken November 10. REUTERS/Stephanie Mcgehee

Reuters/Stephanie Mcgehee

04 December 2016

Looking for parking space in Kuwait City has become like a mirage especially during peak hours, reports Arab Times daily. Everyday, owners of about 40,000 vehicles take the risk of the withdrawal of their number plates when they park their vehicles due to lack of sufficient parking areas in Kuwait City.

According to statistics, about 100,000 cars head to downtown everyday but the holding capacity of parking lots there is not more than 60,000 cars. The impossible equation between the provision of sufficient parking spaces for cars and the activation of the traffic law that stipulates withdrawal of driving licenses and number plates of cars that block traffic flow has stirred up overwhelming anger and disappointment among people in Capital Governorate, which is regarded as the most congested and jam-packed governorates in the country especially in Kuwait City.

There are about 13,000 commercial institutions in Kuwait City besides governmental authorities and ministries, as per statistics of Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

About 325,446 employees of various organizations frequently visit these institutions daily. Car owners are faced with a complex problem as the Article No. 42 of the Traffic Law has enclosed them in culde- sac.

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Either they have to risk the withdrawal of their number plates or they have to park their cars in permitted parking areas.

Despite the activation of this law in Ahmadi Governorate some years ago, it was withdrawn later because of the crisis and traffic problems caused by the implementation of the law.

So will Ministry of Interior review this law as it has grave consequences on citizens and residents?

Meanwhile, Head of Parking Department at Public Utilities Management Company Mohammed Al-Shatti explained to Aljarida daily that the number of public parking areas in Kuwait is 43 of which 34 are in Kuwait City with total capacity of holding only 34,000 cars.

Despite this and the availability of a number of private parking spaces, the issue of insufficient parking spaces and the parking of vehicles in banned location have led to extreme traffic congestion during peak hours.

Allotted parking spaces are jammed and the surplus number of cars that are spread throughout pavements and roadsides end up becoming preys of traffic officers who are combat-ready to apply the law.

Al-Shatti revealed that 41,945 citations were issued and 1,408 vehicles were seized during the period between Oct 30 and Nov 30, as per statistics issued by the General Traffic Department.

In addition, a member of the Municipality board Osama Al-Otaibi lamented that Kuwait Municipality was not serious about improving the parking areas and expanding them despite several repeated calls to pay attention to this issue.

He revealed that he had proposed introducing an investment aspect in the parking tenders because it will motivate investors and at the same time ensure capacity to hold more cars in the parking areas through construction of new multilayer parking buildings. However, proposal did not see the light of the day so far.

© Arab Times 2016

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