Considering the situation on Shanghai’s roads outlined earlier by Shanghaiist, it’s no wonder that parking a car in this city can be a tough assignment. It almost requires emulating the feats of Cadet Mahoney (Steve Guttenburg) in that immortal scene from Police Academy:
It fits! The damn thing fits. And I thought there were no more spaces. Am I an idiot or what?
(Okay, perhaps “immortal” is overplaying it).
And while we’re mentioning classic comedic figures, it’s fair to say that if parking “enthusiast” George Costanza lived in Shanghai (a big “if”, admittedly), he’d be overjoyed at the city’s new measures to improve the availability of parking spaces for commuters. As overjoyed as George Costanza can get, that is:
Parking in the city is just like sex. Why should I pay for it when, if I apply myself, I might be able to get it for free?
In short, drivers can now benefit from a new online parking information system which will assist some two million people in finding available spaces. A website — Chinese only at this stage — is being tested by the Shanghai Urban Transport Bureau, and more than 200 parking lot operators have already agreed to sign up for the project. The site will allow car owners to search for information about parking lots, including location, size and rates, and then choose a spot before driving off to work in the morning.
Honestly though, we at Shanghaiist — reasonably knowledgeable as we are about what goes on on Shanghai’s streets — recommend driving your car somewhere out near Hangzhou and parking it there. Then take a train back to Shanghai and never think about getting behind the wheel of a vehicle in China again.
Unless it’s one of these.