Since September 29 this year, the new Law on reforming the parking of vehicles has come into force, about which Opinion already wrote in the material “Drivers are again promised “letters of happiness”, evacuators and fines“. But while officials are waiting for the autumn, suggesting how to row money with a shovel in case of breaking new parking rules, while the legitimacy of payment for parking along a piece of road in settlements, according to human rights activists, is a big question. So we decided to find out what drivers need to know in order to defend their rights and not throw money away.
The problem with parking, like every other “medal”, has two sides. If you are a pedestrian and do not have your own wheels, you are annoyed by cars, parked almost everywhere, and therefore you accuse their owners of almost all deadly sins. If you are a car driver, then you look at it from a completely different angle, above all, outraged by the lack of a properly equipped parking lot and the inability to put your car, where you have come.
This issue is especially acute in large cities with heavy traffic and a large number of cars, where simultaneously a third aspect of the problem arises – traffic jams due to cars parked along the roads, often accompanied by accidents. They are not in a hurry to solve this complex problem, and if they do, for some reason, it is without taking into account many obvious things.
The driver is the same pedestrian, only in the car
Instead of maximally equipping the city with parking lots (I remember about multi-level parking of the department store “Ukraine” and the shopping center “Gulliver” with a covered parking for 450 places in Kyiv, but several such multi-storey parking lots cannot solve the problem for the capital as a whole, and other cities do not have even this), drivers are harassed with signs that prohibit not only parking, but even a stop. “To understand how they make fun of motorists, it’s worth looking at the streets of Kyiv,” says Oleh Vynogradov, a long-time driver, sharing his thoughts with Opinion. – Everywhere are placed concrete “bulls”, hemispheres, which block not only the thoroughfares and parking places, but also entire streets.
First of all, it’s ugly. The view of stylish architecture, fountains, greenery, magnificent flowerbed bloom do not bring pleasure, because the view invariably rests on concrete fences. Secondly, any roadway and parking are primarily economic arteries. The intensity of business activity depends on this. The faster the goods are delivered, the person will get to work or the manager will appear at a business meeting, the more money will be earned and the higher will be the GDP, and consequently, more taxes will be paid. In addition, at one time, the architecture of the city was specifically designed and planned with such aim by whole research institutes. And nowadays, it seemed to some official that it is better to prohibit the passage or parking, and that’s all, the drivers turned into offenders”.
In addition, a driver, convinces the car enthusiast, is the same pedestrian, only in the car. “It is the same person, with the same needs, concerns and goals,” notes Oleh Vynogradov. – And when we restrict the rights of a motorist, we restrict the rights of both the driver and the one, who is in the passenger seat. And it does not matter, it’s a public transport for 50 people or a private car for 5. Children, old people, invalids can go everywhere. As a result, the owner of the car is a person, who, with his labor, has improved the quality of his life. At the same time, he or she earned money for cars, paid taxes, excises, buys gasoline, repairs the car. That is, it creates demand and supply, indirectly – jobs, and again drives the economy. Therefore, the new parking rules are meaningful only from the point of view of the implementation of the struggle against low-cultural drivers. And the overall strategy of the Government should be aimed at improving the quality of roads, creating rational travel routes, a sufficient number of parking lots and sites. And if you look at the problem from the position of the Constitution, then it is primarily about securing the right to freedom of movement”.
No parking lots, but appetites grow
Meanwhile, a list of almost 70 streets was determined in Kyiv at the end of last year, where you cannot park – but you cannot even stop. In this list got the central streets and avenues in residential areas. The Kyiv City Council noted that they will install road signs and will apply the appropriate road markings so that motorists can see where it is impossible to park. The police, armed with the appropriate decision of the City Council, will deal with the offenders.
And where, in the opinion of the Kyiv authorities, you can stand, especially in the central part of the city, you have to pay for parking. Information on where exactly and how much parking costs, can be found on the official website of the utility company “Kyivtransparkservis”. And since 2009, the hour of parking in the center is more expensive (10 UAH), the second zone is cheaper (7 UAH), and sleeping areas cost less for motorists (5 UAH). At the same time, we are not talking about civilized parking lots, equipped with barriers, where there is security, which is responsible for your car. The main thing is that you pay for the parking, and what will happen to your car next, no one cares.
Approximately the same situation is in Odesa, where in December of last year the decision of the City Council also made changes to the parking rules since 2011, which provide parking place and level of payments. There are three parking zones, like in Kyiv. And the hour of parking in the center is also more expensive. However, there are few specially equipped parking lots in the city. Among them is a covered in the zone of the market “Pryvoz”, but my desire to leave a car there for the night died, even without being born, because the parking guards offered to pay hourly – 12 UAH, so the day of storage should cost 288 UAH.
According to official data, in Lviv there are now 180,000 registered car owners, not counting cars with European registration – only about 3000 parking places located on 91 lots. Therefore, Lviv authorities instead of solving the problem with the arrangement of parking lots decided to take advantage of the capital’s experience. Also last year, but a month later, deputies of the Lviv City Council approved a list of streets, where parking leads to a reduction in capacity, and banned the stopping of cars in these streets, relying on the fact that this increases the risk of road accidents. “Lvivavtodor” is convinced that this will allow the police to evacuate the cars of violators, but at the same time the ban does not apply to parking lots, arranged in these streets. True, the fee for an hour of parking in the first zone, that is, in the center of the city of Leo, is less than in Kyiv: on open parking 6 UAH, and on closed parking – 8 UAH. But is it enough for Lviv residents and visitors of the city – is a rhetorical question.
In Cherkasy, where there was no paid parking, the problem of such project was imbued in April this year. In the Department of financial policy of the City State Administration believe that this initiative is able to replenish the budget of Cherkasy to a million UAH every year. In the opinion of the secretary of the Cherkasy City Council Yaroslav Nyshchyk, in the case of the introduction of paid parking in the city, in conditions of dense development, especially in the city center, there will be no free alternative to paid parking, so people will have a choice: either to pay for parking or to travel by public transport.
Drivers – in those cities, where they have long been trying to charge parking fees, and where they are just beginning to introduce this practice – believe that paying for parking is only logical, when parking lot is protected and has a security. That is, disputes over the issue of payment for parking only apply to those sites, located on separate sections of the streets and are attributed to parking decisions of local authorities.
By the way, right now in the capital we have again decided to modernize this sphere: according to the deputy chairman of Kyiv City State Administration Dmytro Davtyan, since June 1, “Kyivtransparkservis” has introduced an online sale of coupons for parking through the MICC (Main Information and Computing Center) system – on its website there is a banner “Parking tickets “, which are offered for drivers to take advantage of. The cost of such subscription for all parking zones without exception – 1465 UAH for the quarter and 630 UAH – for the month.
At the same time, through the system “Prozorro”, on May 30, have already started selling parking places in the capital; for the first time sold the right to equip two such sites, on the Sports Square for 250, 000 100 UAH and on Kurska Street for 112 000 UAH. According to the officials, “the monthly fee for the parking is established in accordance with the tariffs for parking services, which are paid separately on the terms and in the manner determined by the agreement in accordance with the current legislation and is not part of the payment for granting the right to arrange places for paid parking of vehicles”. In KCSA assume that only a playground on the Sports Square will monthly bring in the budget of the capital 69, 720 UAH.
“What is “parking” is not said in any law”
Usually, when it comes to changing parking rules, in practice it all comes down to changing the rules of paying for parking or expanding the territory, where for parking, according to local authorities, drivers should pay a certain amount. To understand on whose side the truth – the local authorities, which at the expense of motorists want to replenish city budgets, or drivers, who are not in a hurry to help with this – it is necessary to understand what legislative acts regulate this issue. The drivers’ constitution is the Rules of the Road. Tangent documents – the Law of Ukraine “On Road Traffic” and the Tax Code. At the same time, it should be taken into account that no document of any authority should contradict the current legislation.
“First of all, we need to figure out what is the parking charge from the point of view of the current legislation, the parking fee, who pays it and what rights the driver has if it comes to parking”, explains Vadym Valadarsky, a human rights activist, who specializes in automotive topics. – The traffic regulations clearly state what is a stop and parking, which are elements of traffic, as well as a section that regulates the issues of stopping and parking. Not a word is said about the parking in the traffic rules. As, by the way, and in the Law “On Road Traffic”. But in Art. 268-1 of the Tax Code of Ukraine provides for a fee for parking places for vehicles. However, its payers, according to the same Tax Code, are not individuals, but various categories of legal entities and individuals-entrepreneurs, that is, they are business structures of various forms of ownership. But the establishment of the cost of parking in a particular zone, introduced by local government in certain cities, is not provided for by the Tax Code, therefore it is impossible to say that the driver did not pay the parking tax, and activists often speculate this – the driver is not a payer of such a tax”.
According to the lawyer, parking can be paid only if it is a service that drivers are given as consumers of this service in accordance with the Law “On Protection of Consumer Rights”. It is this Law that regulates the legal relationship of an individual with entrepreneurial structures. In this case we are talking about a specially equipped area, where the car will be under supervision. But it often happens that they charge parking fees for stopping or parking cars right in the street.
“Here you need to understand that stopping and parking is, according to the traffic rules, an integral part of the traffic, – Vadym Volodarsky sorts all things out, – and the rights and responsibilities of both, drivers, who are users of highways and local authorities, that own such roads are defined by “The Law on Roads”. According to this Law, local governments can take money from drivers only as compensation for the losses incurred. Other cases, where local authorities can charge drivers for money for using roads (it does not matter whether it is for a journey, stop or parking, as it does not matter, this is a roadway or sidewalk), the law does not stipulate”.
As for the chargeable roads, although the Law defines their existence, however, there are no such roads in Ukraine yet. Therefore, the expert adds, “charging for any use of the roads cannot be considered compliant with the requirements of the Law”. In addition, Art. 19 of the Constitution, the norms of which we have by the rules of direct action, provides that the legal order in our country is based on the principles that no one should be forced to do what is not provided for in laws. And all power structures and their officials must act “only on the basis, within the limits of their powers and in the manner provided for by the Constitution and Laws of Ukraine”.
This means, explains the human rights activist, that any person in general and a motorist in particular can refer to the fact that he should not do what he does not explicitly oblige to do, according to the law. “As we see,” concludes the expert, “neither the Tax Code defines the duties of the payer of the fee – a legal entity or individual entrepreneur, nor “The Law on Roads”, which identify the rights and duties of the road user, do not oblige the driver to pay for any kind of use of roads, including the streets of settlements: neither for traffic on them, nor for a stop or parking. And what is “parking” and why you have to pay for it right on the street, is not said in any law”.
The future is behind modern multi-level parking lots
However, there are still approved in December 2009 by Government Decree No. 1342 “Regulations for parking vehicles“. And it is in this document (which, like the other bylaws, should not contradict any of the laws), one could find an explanation of what parking is: it is the placement of a vehicle (attention!) on the parking lot. And these sites should be specially equipped. Moreover, it is this decree that gives an opportunity to decide to the local self-government bodies, parking should be paid or free of charge. As well as it somewhat manipulates the concepts, distinguishing between “allotted parking areas” and “specially equipped parking areas”.
With specially equipped everything is clear – the barrier, fence, security and all attributes of the parking lot, for which all are paid and no one disputes. But those, which are allotted, according to these rules, are marked by traffic signs and a solid blue strip and must be equipped with parking automatic devices for a certain number of parking places – these are the pieces of streets, around which those, who want to collect money, and those, who believe that they should not pay, have many disputes. That is, according to “The Law on Roads”, the driver has the right to stop and put the car on the street (in case this is not prohibited by traffic rules). And according to these Rules, they are required to pay for it.
Therefore, the problem should be solved in a complex, and after the coordination of all legislative norms, in order, first of all, there were no ambiguous interpretations. To take money for air – that is, for a piece of the street, “fenced off” by a blue stripe, is unlikely to be honest according to the drivers, because in such “parking lots” there is no car protection. Experts, who are exploring this problem in different cities of Ukraine, suggest starting, first of all, with the inventory of parking places to understand the whole picture. This will allow not only to determine its scale, but also with a real desire of the authorities, to solve the problem, and not only to fill the budget at the expense of drivers, but to reorganize existing parking lots and create new ones. And even better – modern European parking, which will be pleasant and convenient to use. After all, people normally perceive change only if they bring them convenience. Then no one will even think of not paying for parking the car.
And in the legislation, if there is already a great desire to collect money from drivers for parking a car, the responsibility of the parking lot for the safety and preservation of vehicles temporarily assigned to them, should be fixed. This is what is said in the Draft Law No. 8423 – on introducing amendments to the Art. 977 of the Civil Code of Ukraine on the Regulation of the relationship of parking vehicles – registered in the Verkhovna Rada on June 1. People’s deputies note that now the parking “business” is super-profitable, because it almost does not provide for investments and exactly – mutual responsibility. But its volume, the explanatory note to the draft law says, is measured in hundreds of millions UAH. “Money is collected (acquired) simply, without any logic, inherent in civil law relations, where in exchange for money received from one legal partner, another party to the legal relationship must provide something in return (hand over the goods, provide work, perform the service, etc.)”, – explain the authors of the bill. Therefore, I would like to hope that before the drivers are threatened with heavy fines, including for violation of parking rules, all legislative nuances will be taken into account and agreed upon, taking into account the rights of all parties.
Text: Larysa Vyshynska