04 March, 2014

"Easier" access to stores in 20 minutes flat

La mairie d'Angers a installé dans plusieurs endroits de la ville une nouvelle génération d'horodateurs. Ceux-ci, grâce à des capteurs au sol, détectent la présence d'un véhicule et décomptent le temps restant à courir pour un stationnement sans frais. Le jeu en vaut-il vraiment la chandelle? 

The March-April issue of Vivre à Angers, the bimonthly magazine edited by the city, has published a news about the implementation in several squares of town of an automatic device dedicated "to make easy the access to shops and to allow the rotation of vehicles". The principle is easy : on 14 parkings spots located on Molière, Imbach, Sainte-Croix, Visitation squares and in Saint-Julien street, drivers can park their car for free during 20 minutes. The time is counted as soon as the vehicle is on the parking spot because buried sensors detect the presence of the vehicle. Once the no charged 20 minutes are passed : a "green signal on on a terminal lights up and a meter counts the remaining time (and) at the end of it verbalization may intervene"(1).

The problem is if that 20 minutes are sufficient to buy a pack of cigarettes or to post a letter, they are not suited to persons who have to go for some shopping or to go and come back with a child from shool (even if there is no talk with the teacher). Such a device could be more suited to the parking spots of the Saint-Laud railway station where many vehicles stay much more than necessary to pick up a traveller. And moreover, the lay out of electronic devices would be more useful to monitor "inappropriate" nocturnal behaviours in down town or to prevent more serious offenses. Does the monitoring of drivers simply parking their car justify such investments? Are such excesses (in time of parking) so serious?

Maybe that money could be used to improve facilities and traffic conditions for collective and no polluting modes of transport? The parking of cars in town is an important issue because closely connected to the attractiveness of the centre for visitors and stores owners.

(1) What is going on if the car just moves back then moves forward? Does it trigger 20 minutes free again?

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