Don’t ask me why, but there are few things that make my blood boil as much as systematic double parking. Especially on a busy road, in a big city and during rush-hour. I consider it the epitome of selfishness. It’s a big middle finger to the rest of us whose lives, time and appointments are deemed less important that the delivery of goods to the Carrefour supermarket or whatever outlet it is.
I don’t know how it is in your city but I can tell you how it is in mine. In Brussels you cannot drive a hundred metres without a getting stuck behind a double-parked delivery truck or van. I am not talking about by-lanes and side-roads. I am talking main arteries and vital intersections. Driving between 8:00 and 10:00 in the morning in Brussels you would be forgiven to think that the city has no traffic police and that none of the 19 mayors of Brussels ever takes a car.
Of course supermarkets in the Belgian capital normally have a space reserved for deliveries. More often than not, however, either the supermarket manager has decided it is his privilege to park there (a delivery man himself told me this) or the driver simply can’t be bothered with manoeuvring his truck. And mind you, these are not dashing deliveries. They are often pallet-fulls of goods that are being lifted and offloaded. If you’re stuck behind one, you can easily watch a full episode of “Family Guy” on your mobile.
Every time this happens to me, there are three things I want tell the people responsible for double parking (and these are not necessarily the drivers!):
1. Your double parking wastes our time and costs money!
“But I have a job to do!” a clueless driver once replied to me when I asked him to move on (well, ok perhaps more like ‘yelled at him’). Well, guess what, mister, we all do! And for you to be able to do your job, a few hundred people are arriving late at work or at school. Now multiply that by a few thousand trucks roaming the city and then by the number of deliveries each one makes while double parking. Finally multiply the total by the number of minutes wasted and the euros it costs. That’s how much these deliveries are costing, simply because you are double-parked!
2. You are adding to the chaos and pollution!
I understand that traffic in big cities has become an endemic problem, and that people should drive less. But double-parking exacerbates the problem and it is hardly an unsurmountable issue! It creates more chaos on the streets, more pollution, multiple road rages and higher chances of accidents, and all because of someone’s laziness.
3. You may be responsible for someone’s death!
No, I’m not exaggerating. I don’t think there is any awareness of the fact that by double parking you might be stopping an ambulance from reaching somebody on time, or someone from reaching the emergency services on time. All it takes for a person to lose her life are a few minutes, which were lost so that cabbages could be delivered at your local supermarket in the morning.
I think systemic double parking reveals something more insidious than just human laziness. It shows social and institutional lethargy towards certain practices which could easily be avoided and which cause a lot of misery.
For once there’s a problem with simple solutions and just in case they are not obvious to the powers that be I will list a few here:
- Make sure that shops have loading/unloading bays and that these are used only for that purpose.
- Limit the size of delivery vehicles in urban centres so that they can fit and manoeuvre in these parking bays easily.
- Prohibit deliveries during traffic rush-hours.
- Enforce existing rules.
Voila! Now all it takes is a little common sense and goodwill.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions on this blog belong solely to the author. They do not, in any way, reflect the opinions of employers, associates and dependants, whether past or present.
Photocredit: Andre Corrado