Women Only, Taking a Bath, Abu Dhabi
Personally, I don’t really “get” the idea of lots of special reserved spaces in car parks. For sure disabled (handicapped) spaces make sense, an extra wide bay to allow easy access by wheelchair located near the front just helps; but mother and child? My wife sees this as being for her and her 85-year-old mum, but I don’t think that is what is intended. I have also seen small car parking spaces for “small” cars.
Of course, the small car drivers go right ahead and park where they like in the regular spaces and these spaces, also know as designer foul ups, collect dust. Now officials in the City of Hangzhou in China have reached a new high, or low, depending on your point of view. The city has installed, at a cost of about $9m, women only parking spaces in the service stations in and around the city. The spaces are wider than average and are marked in pink with a high heeled shoe, which of course all women must wear to drive.
Now the city fathers claim that these spaces are closer to the exits and “monitoring” systems and are “safer at night”. I interpret this to say, “Our car parks are badly designed and unsafe”. And why the wider bays? Sorry guys but, in every study that I have ever seen, women score higher than men on driver skills.
The stiletto, let’s not go there. If there is a problem with the way your car parks are designed and operate shouldn’t they fix the problem, rather than embark on a badly designed and thought through PR disaster?
There is a saying, “The Lord helps those that helps themselves” and a citizen in the city of Bath seems to have taken this to heart. Bath is part city and part architectural museum. As the social heart of Georgian England, think Beaux Brummell, Jane Austen etc., large parts of the city are preserved Georgian. This means that large parts of the city were designed just a tad before Mr. Benz invented his horseless carriage and many of the houses are sans parking.
Parking for the local residents is a pain, made worse by the number of people parking there to avoid the central are parking charges. Enter our Hero. He, or she, decides that local streets should be for local people and so starts to put up properly made metal signs, that superficially at least look like Council issue, announcing that the area is now Bath City Residents’ Parking Zone F. That would mean that parking is only available for locals with a council-issued permit.
Trouble is, Zone F doesn’t exist. Someone has put a lot of time and a fair amount of money into the exercise, but the Council didn’t get the joke and have sent out a man with a ladder to take them down Ever mindful of the environment Council officials have confirmed that the metal signs will be recycled. Who says the English are eccentric?
Shakespeare once wrote that “A Rose by any other name would smell as sweet”, or something like that. It was his way of saying that a label is just that, a way of recognising something. We instill values in labels and make them more than they are In Britain we use the word disabled, you use handicapped in much the same way. It’s a single word for describing someone who has a mobility impairment, and in our industry, we try and offer a little help.
Abu Dhabi has just invented a new phrase for the same thing: “people of determination”. Try getting that on a traffic sign!
Meanwhile, once again our politicians are trying to invent “Free Parking” for political gain. The increasingly popular leader of the Labor Party Jeremy Corbyn has pronounced that “Hospital parking charges are a tax on the sick and should be abolished” indeed they will be abolished when he comes to power. Didn’t say who would pay for the parking; didn’t say a word about bus or train charges being a tax on the other sick people going to hospital, the ones who are too poor to afford a car, nothing, not a word. Would it be too cynical for me to suggest that, in order to get into power, he needs to move people in the middle ground to his side of the see-saw? You know, the ones with cars who are a bit concerned about the cost of things. Nah! That would just be too cynical. Wouldn’t it?
Meanwhile, back at the Mother of Parliaments the honourable members have been getting their panties in a twist over the publication of “The Parking (Code of Practice) Bill,” a new law which will “Make provision for and in connection with a code of practice containing guidance about the operation and management of private parking facilities; and for connected purposes”.
So, there will be a code, and it will say something. No one knows what but, according to the press, it will stop us, the parking industry, from being nasty; nasty being getting people to pay for what they use. We can do this because in 2012, the same government made a law which said that we, the parking industry, could be nasty and charge for parking, further, if we couldn’t find the driver, we could collect the money from the car owner, even if they were not involved in the parking act that incurred the charge. I want to cry.