Parking in Kiev, Ukraine is visibly chaotic. Drivers park their cars everywhere—on the sidewalk, in crosswalks, in moving lanes, on playgrounds, in public plazas, on grass and seemingly wherever a surface space can be accessed. Though a municipal enterprise, known as KyivTransParkService (KTPS), oversees payments in officially sanctioned spaces, there is still rampant illegal parking, ineffective payment methods, and little enforcement.
The problem starts with numbers. With a population of 3.5 million, Kiev has approximately 1.5 million cars. These vehicles vie for only 25,000 regulated public parking spaces, of which only 6,500 are on the street. As a result, drivers fill whatever space they can find, causing obstructed sidewalks and overrun public plazas. Though the answer to Kiev’s parking problem will need to include a greater focus on public transit and non-motorized transport, it is clear that better management of existing infrastructure is needed. Even for the spaces that exist, the current system is broken.
Attempts at reform are complicated by conflict in the region, and stakes are high for reform-minded officials in Kiev. After recent political tensions, elected officials are under pressure to deliver real change and improve the city’s image. Part of this challenge includes making the city more livable. The city is taking serious steps to reclaim its streets, including deploying a new municipal police force to improve enforcement of traffic and parking rules.
Kiev’s parking payment system is not working. Payment can be done at parking meters, to attendants with cash-machines, via mobile phone, or at payment terminals in convenience shops. The attendants accept cash and then print a receipt. In other cities, this type of fee collection has led to spillage of revenue. There is no doubt that the payment scheme in Kiev is leading to lost income for KTPS and the city, as the streets, particularly in the historic city center and core business district, are overrun with private cars. Official estimates assume that only 30% of drivers pay for parking.
Like many other cities in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), Kiev was built around walking and public transit. People lived in communal apartments where entire families were raised in single-room occupancy conditions. In the 1950s new mid-rise developments began to be erected outside of city centers to give families more living space. At the time, these developments were connected to the city center with bus and trams. After the Soviet Union dissolved, so did public transit services—aside from the well functioning and superbly clean metro.
Many former mass transit connections are now made by mini-buses and private cars. After Ukraine declared independence in the 1990s, new developments with modern amenities continued to mushroom on the periphery, usually not linked to the provision of public transit. Today, the public transit catchment area does not reach most neighborhoods. As incomes grew, so did car ownership, leading to the current conflict between the number of cars and parking spaces.
ITDP is providing technical assistance to improve the on-street parking management situation in Kiev. A better parking management system will improve the city’s quality of life, revenue streams and overall transport functions—as has been the case in countless other cities that have taken on the challenge.
All photos credit to Christophe Begon, Sareco