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http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/03/22/BA2CVNEHD.DTL





Tiny cars may force cities to rethink parking


Smart cars, the teeny tiny two-passenger vehicles that have long attracted the attention of Americans visiting Europe, are starting to show up on the streets of the Bay Area, where they're likely to smash head-on into parking regulations designed for larger cars.

Just 8-feet, 8-inches long - about 3 feet shorter than the Mini Cooper - Smart cars can squeeze into just about any parking space. That's sure to make them a hit in San Francisco. But whether they can wedge themselves into a system of parking laws designed for much larger vehicles is going to be the bigger challenge.

In Europe, where more than 800,000 of the little cars have sold in the past decade, drivers often park perpendicularly - with their noses or tails to the curb - between parallel-parked larger cars. But in California, that violates a state law that requires cars to have their right tires within 18 inches of the curb unless parked on the left side of a one-way street, in which case the rule applies to their left-side tires.

Smart cars, manufactured by Mercedes and originally designed by Swatch, are marketed with the idea that they can be parked anywhere. But that's not yet the case. Smart, which started taking orders last year, started releasing cars to customers in late January. According to Ash Zaki, a Smart representative in San Francisco, about 100 will be delivered by the end of May, but "you should start to see a lot more of them over the next few months."

A full-scale invasion of the pint-sized cars will force cities and counties, which set most parking laws in California, to rethink those policies, said Matt Nichol, a transportation planner in Berkeley.

"If these things sell in any kind of reasonable numbers, we're going to have to deal with it," he said.

Nichol said that while Berkeley has created smaller parking places in some areas for small electric vehicles, it has not yet contemplated how to handle Smart cars and other ultra-compact cars in development.

Likewise, San Francisco has not yet developed any special policies for micro-cars.

That means that while Smart cars cannot park perpendicularly on city streets, they can park two to a marked space as long as they both fit within the lines and allow room for each other to maneuver, said Kristen Holland, spokeswoman for San Francisco's Municipal Transportation Agency. The same goes for metered spots - as long as someone pays the meter. And if it expires, she said, both cars can be ticketed. The same law applies to motorcycles.

Smart USA spokesman Ken Kettenbeil said the company has just started talking with some East Coast cities about Smart-friendly parking policies. He declined to name the specific cities.
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As long as they don't stick out any farther than a fullsize truck would if it were 18 inches from the curb, and it looks like they don't, I don't see what the big deal is. I guess that it would violate the letter of the law, but not the intent, so it would just take some common sense on the part of parking enforcers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It looks like certain East coast cities are working on some sort of parking standard for these City cars.

And since SMART seems to be doing decently well in the US, it might be a good thing. That means cars like GM's Triplets won't have any issues in American metro areas.

I wonder how Europe and Asia deals with it, as they have had city cars for far longer than the US.
 

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It looks like certain East coast cities are working on some sort of parking standard for these City cars.

And since SMART seems to be doing decently well in the US, it might be a good thing. That means cars like GM's Triplets won't have any issues in American metro areas.

I wonder how Europe and Asia deals with it, as they have had city cars for far longer than the US.
I don't think the Triplets will be quite short enough to park perpendicularly like that. Could be wrong though.
 

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Why do cities have to "handle" small car parking?
 

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Why do cities have to "handle" small car parking?
One word... REVENUE!

The automobile has been a cash cow since it was invented.
You pay to park, drive, buy, sell, register, and even supplies you don`t get to keep at the dealer.
 

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As long as they don't stick out any farther than a fullsize truck would if it were 18 inches from the curb, and it looks like they don't, I don't see what the big deal is. I guess that it would violate the letter of the law, but not the intent, so it would just take some common sense on the part of parking enforcers.

Common sense????? Government parking revenue collectors????? Surely you jest!!!!!! :lmao:
 

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It looks like certain East coast cities are working on some sort of parking standard for these City cars.

And since SMART seems to be doing decently well in the US, it might be a good thing. That means cars like GM's Triplets won't have any issues in American metro areas.

I wonder how Europe and Asia deals with it, as they have had city cars for far longer than the US.
When you pay for parking, only one car per parking slot is allowed in Germany. Otherwise we using every inch.



Okay, sometimes even a Smart is to big to fit in the slot. :rolleyes:
 

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A spot designed to fit one car isn't going to fit two cars unless both of them are Smarts. Would you like to find you can't get into your space (or out) because a Smart wedged itself perpendicular to the curb?
 

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Yes, because city parking laws = state-owned means of production. :rolleyes:
I guess forcing people to drive on the right side of the road is another example of big government?
- There should be no parking laws, people should do the normal thing, drive around the block until they find a spot to park.
- Driving on the right was due to putting the steering wheel on the left, and yes it is an example of big government, I'd drive on the side of the road that I like. :p:
 

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you could park it in someone's pickup bed and avoid paying
 

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- There should be no parking laws, people should do the normal thing, drive around the block until they find a spot to park.
And why do we have parking laws? To make people do just that. If you really think people will drive around for 10 minutes to find a parking spot just to be nice to fellow drivers, you either live in a village with a population of 150 or you're hopelessly delusional. If a city did away with parking regulations, there'd be chaos roughly 5 minutes later, because people would park in second, third or fourth row right in front of their favorite store.

- Driving on the right was due to putting the steering wheel on the left, and yes it is an example of big government, I'd drive on the side of the road that I like. :p:
So you really think everyone should be free to choose which side of the road they drive on?
 
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