Sunday, December 4, 2011

"I prefer corruption to pollution"

The full message from Todd Edelman -- as part of a discussion on the Sustran/Global South forum of attempts to limit parking in cities through regulation, which sometimes achieve at least some of their objectives, and at other times risk to open up opportunities for favoritism and corruption --reads: "Briefly (and simplistically): I prefer corruption to pollution."  Now I find this a terrific provocative thought and while I leave you to sort that one out for yourself, here's a bit of context on this important, powerful, unambiguous,  but nonetheless largely ignored policy issue behind his contentious phrase.
The context of his comment is an article posted in the last days by Paul Barter -- who is Assistant Professor of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy of the National University of Singapore and one of the founding members of the Sustran Global South Forum, -- under the title India debates proof-of-parking laws to his Reinventing Parking blog.  As is the practice in the Sustran forum he then forwarded the piece to the group, which set off some discussion which  you can find  at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sustran-discuss/message/7011.

One member of the group, Ashok Datarm, shared this particularly trenchant observation:

There are always methods and ways by which people can cheat or beat the laws and rules but that does not mean we cannot and should not have rules for regulating parking. We can use better regulation and technology. We must adopt parking regulations whereby there are sufficiently high and variable tariff (based on area, time, day and size of the car) and use discipline, marking, use of technology to enhance the deterrence value. If we can ensure that more than 90% compliance , we should not worry for 10% evasion, this should apply to day time hourly parking and night time monthly parking both these require simple and easily enforceable technologies and regulations

This is one of the fairest method of charging private cars for their private use of public road space

Just out of fear, we should not chicken out.


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