Moscow drivers face private garage bans

Yesterday morning’s Moscow Times newspaper carried the news that Moscow City Hall is considering a parking ban for owners who park on lawns, in playgrounds and parks, as well as prohibit the installment of new metal storage sheds known as “rakushki.”

But the bill does not envision any punishment for violators because Moscow’s paid parking lots are not able to accommodate the 70 percent of the city’s car owners who have no personal parking space, said Moscow City Duma Deputy Ivan Novitsky.

The ban would create tax and land lease benefits for developers of multi-story garages, Novitsky said, adding that its main aim was to reduce traffic jams created by cars parked on the roadside, clear courtyards for pedestrians and provide cheap parking space for car owners.

Corrupt city officials bear some of the responsibility for the shortage of parking space, which is a notorious problem in Moscow, said Sergei Kanayev, head of the Moscow branch of the Federation of Automobile Owners of Russia, a group that lobbies for the interests of car owners.

The construction of multistory garages is unprofitable for developers because they typically have to pay a huge kickback to city authorities to obtain permission for it, Kanayev said.

In addition, he said, there is not enough unoccupied land in the city to provide parking space for all the 70 percent of the city’s car owners who need it.

Apartment courtyards are now lined with metal rakushki, which usually serve as parking garages but also have been used to house everything from furniture to horses.

Spring thaws in the permafrost bring on yet other parking problems–