It is a problem that has been simmering for very long in land-scarce Singapore, but recently came under the spotlight when four men scuffled over it. It is no surpise that with a growing vehicular population, and denser housing, the issue of parking, especially in residential areas, has finally come to this.

In the incident on July 17th, an elderly man visiting a friend parked his car along the road outside a private house. Occupants of that house became unhappy and claimed that the road outside their property was for their exclusive parking usage. The shouting match escalated into a physical brawl, ending with four men – the driver of the car and three others from the house – being arrested by the police.

This entitled attitude of landed property occupants has become more and more pronounced lately. Obstacles placed along the roadside, and even within designated parking lots meant for public use, are just one of the methods used to reserve “their” space. Another method is to vandalise or commit mischief on vehicles parked in front of their property, as a deterrant.

 

 

Of course, there are two sides to every story, and inconsiderate motorists who block gates, park illegally and cause congestion must also shoulder their blame. Such drivers should be taken to task and made to pay for their inconsiderate acts. However, for a landed property occupant to lay exclusive claim to public roads and spaces, just because it is fronting his or her strata boundary, is equally inconsiderate, not to mention illegal.

There are many reasons why some occupants have resorted to such measures. Their property might simply not have any parking space, or they might have more vehicles than space. Frequent visitors can also cause them to reserve a spot for their “VIPs”. They may also have rebuilt or repurposed their driveway for other uses, such as storage. In fact their driveway may very well still be a driveway, but they just want the space for their children to play. An interesting phenomenon this author has seen in some landed estates is that the curbs are almost fully occupied by parked vehicles, yet most driveways, porches and compounds have no vehicles in them.

But the fact of the matter is, all of these rationalisations could, and indeed should, have been anticipated when they made that important decision, whether it was to stay there, or buy another car, or repurpose their compound. In other words, this is simply a matter of some people not wanting to live with the consequences of their very own decisions, and forcing the general public to do so!

There are always alternatives for parking lots, albeit more inconvenient than the perfect spot in front of their house. It’s time people started owning up to their responsibilities, and stopped acting like inconsiderate boors. Perhaps the authorities should step in before things escalate to fisticuffs.

 

If residents cannot resolve issues like civilised land-owners, the government can intervene by sending reminder letters – as a first step – to all occupants in that estate or along that road: public roads are not meant for your personal use! In fact, with this recent incident still fresh in the collective consciousness, now might be a good time for the authorities to make their stand clear. Subsequent measures could then include using single or double yellow lines along the side of the road.

Have you had any experience with this phenomenon? Let us know what you think.

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  4 Responses to “When Public Roads Become Not-So-Public”

  1.  

    Can only blame the Gahment’s policy of letting people own cars, but discouraging them from driving. The latter part is a sound idea, but when you let people own cars but don’t let them drive, what do they do? They can’t keep their cars in their pockets, can they? They need a space to park! So what happens? Car park rates keep going up, HDB season parking lots gets full by 7pm every night, and now this kerfuffle at private estates.

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      The point of taxes is to pay for the operation of the vriuoas governmental agencies that provide services to the public (we can all argue about what services should be government controlled, but that’s another matter). I don’t use the unemployment office, the housing office, or the community affairs office in my county, but I pay for them through my taxes. We pay for the services being provided, not what we’re using, and we pay for them through vriuoas methods.The methods of taxation in the United States include income taxes, sales taxes, transactional taxes (recording fees, licensing fees, etc.) and other taxes, which include property taxes. Some states tax all property owned, and some only tax real property (real estate). I live in Georgia, and we pay property taxes yearly not only on our homes, but also any other properties we own, our cars, and even RVs, planes and boats. We also pay license/tag fees on the boats and cars. If I own business personal property (computers, desks, office equipment, etc.), I pay business personal property tax on that as well.

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        Commercial property is aetnhor type of purchase all together. The process is similar but is much more detailed. Commercial loans are different, appraisals are different, and you need to do many more inspections. Are their EPA issues, etc. Good Luck!

  2.  

    You should claim the pro-rated auomnt you paid on the old property and any pro-rated auomnt you paid on the new property (often in advance of the year-end billing), then remember to make any necessary adjustments after official tax bills come out and get re-divided. In theory, you paid the taxes by giving the money to somebody else (or putting it into escrow for taxes) and you are allowed to assume they actually made the necessary payments to the necessary authorities. A lender holding tax escrow should give you an annual statement of taxes collected, held and paid out.

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