The parking woes of landed estate residents have become a highlight in recent news articles. It even prompted us to write a blog post about it. Following that, another news article quoted residents’ reactions to a hypothetical creation of official parking lots and roadside markings along the roads in their neighbourhood.

Ah Tan, who has just read this article, is meeting his friend Kumar at the corner kopitiam (coffee shop, in the vernacular). Their conversation might look something like this:

Ah Tan: Wah, the resident quoted in this article says that people who don’t stay there shouldn’t be allowed to park along his road. Only residents should be allowed. It makes sense right, I mean, if they don’t stay there, why should they use the space to park?

Kumar: It doesn’t matter why they park there; maybe they are visiting, or eating nearby, or even if they are dumping the car for some reason. It’s a public road, anyone can park there, if parking is allowed. If not, it would be labeled a private road.

Ah Tan: But Kumar, surely the residents must have some priority in their neighbourhood? What if people park and obstruct their gate?

Kumar: That priority only extends to the edge of their strata title. If their gate or road is blocked, they have another avenue for recourse; the penalty for obstructing a public thoroughfare or private access is quite severe.

Ah Tan: Actually, that means residents who place objects on the road outside their property can also be penalised?

Kumar: Absolutely. On a narrow street, it doesn’t take much to cause obstruction to traffic. These landed property residents should consider parking their vehicles in their compound instead of trying to claim “squatter rights” on public property.

Ah Tan: What about those with too many vehicles?

Kumar: It’s very strange how car owners in Singapore think that buying a car automatically entitles them to a place to park it; maybe our sky-high COE prices are to blame for this mindset. The onus is on the buyer to ensure proper storage space before buying the vehicle. Nobody owes him any extra parking lots, just because he can buy more than one car.

Ah Tan: Well, those with driveways and garages can still find a way, but what about those without any of such facilities? Won’t they be left without recourse if the government starts enforcement action?

Kumar: Honestly, they will simply have to live with the consequences of their ignorance, or lack of foresight. Ignorance of the law is not an excuse, and neither is saying “but we’ve always done it this way!” Anyway, the government would only have to step in if things cannot be settled amicably.

Ah Tan: Well that’s a good reason to be more neighbourly!

Kumar: Moreover, car owners should realise that they will be inconvenienced, if they rely on public spaces to park; they might have to wait longer for a space, or maybe they have to park two streets away, so be it. If they were just more flexible and accepting of this fact, then the issue can be resolved much more easily.

Ah Tan: I suppose it really is time people start being more aware of their rights and entitlements, as well as the consequences of their decisions.

Kumar: Yes, and government bodies, such as the Land Transport Authority, should start educating the people as well.

Here at BLUTA, we tend to agree with Kumar. What do you think?

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