Saturday, November 21, 2009

Motorcycle Japan Blog - Coin operated motorycle parking to begin in Tokyo on November 30, 2009

See the real Japan by Motorcycle

"Coin-operated parking zones for motorcycles will open for the first time in the nation along Omotesando in Tokyo on Nov. 30.

Under the 2006 revision to the Road Traffic Law, punishments for parking offenses have become stricter, with the result that greater attention has been paid to the maintenance of parking lots for passenger cars. But to date, almost no parking zones have been provided for motorcycles.

The number of parking violations by motorcyclists has increased about fivefold since the law was revised, prompting the Metropolitan Police Department to decide to provide motorcycle parking areas on a trial basis. If the experiment is a success, the MPD plans to expand coin-operated parking areas for motorcycles.

According to the MPD, under the revised law, detection of parking offenses has improved with the introduction of private traffic wardens, and car parks managed by private companies have opened one after another in places including busy shopping districts.

On the other hand, there has been no progress in providing parking lots for motorcycles, even after the law was revised.

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Although in central Tokyo there are an estimated 500,000 motorcycles with engines above 50cc, there are only parking spaces, including those at residences, for about 10,000, an MPD official said.

This has led to a surge in the number of cases of illegal parking of motorcycles. There were 521,400 such cases in 2007--a huge leap from the 109,500 cases in 2005, before the law was revised.

The shortage of parking lots has been a cause of concern since the law was revised. An official of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association Inc., to which motorcycle makers are affiliated, said, "The lack of parking areas is a contributing factor for the decreasing number of motorcyclists in recent years."

The MPD has also received complaints from motorcyclists, with some pointing out the inconvenience caused by the lack of parking spaces and others saying they had given up going out on their bikes because there was nowhere to park.

The coin-operated parking zones will be established on both sides of Omotesando avenue, extending about 160 meters from the Omotesando traffic junction in Minato Ward. Each parking space will be about 2.5 meters long and 1.3 meters wide, about half the size of a single car parking lot and big enough to accommodate large motorcycles.

The MPD said up to 34 motorcycles will be able to park in the Omotesando zones, which can be used from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. for 300 yen an hour.

Early Tuesday morning, a 28-year-old male office worker of Shibuya Ward who was visiting Omotesando on his motorcycle said: "I come here to shop on my motorcycle on my days off, but because there aren't any parking spaces, I have to park on the sidewalk, and I feel guilty about doing that. I'd be happy if there were more parking spaces."

The senior MPD official in charge of the coin-operated parking zone trial said: "It won't be easy to solve the problem of the shortage of parking lots. Now that we've set up the new coin-operated zone, we'd like to give private companies the opportunity to operate such parking zones.""

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Source: Coin-operated parking zones for motorbikes to open
The Yomiuri Shimbun
Nov. 20, 2009