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We are building St. Petersburg. Paid parking zones

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Ligovskiy, Fontanka’s embankment, Kirochnaya and Nevskiy. These streets made a special zone for drivers in the city. Up to 3 thousand car owners can park their vehicles here. But they will have to pay.

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You can sing at any job!

Some melody sits in me and I keep singing it to myself. So sometimes – when im walking and registering parked cars – I realize that im actually singing it out loud.

Ligovskiy, Fontanka’s embankment, Kirochnaya and Nevskiy. These streets made a special zone for drivers in the city. Up to 3 thousand car owners can park their vehicles here. But they will have to pay.

Ruben Terteryan, CEO at center for parking in St. Petersburg: ”The main mission is to lower  the number of cars driving into the city’s center for an extended period of time”

Basically, we want to encourage those persons who usually drive their cars into the historic center to use public means of transportation” 

Its not hard to find a free space in the paid parking zones. All information is displayed on electronic signs. As soon as a car is parked, a chip implanted into the sidewalk sends a signal – and the number of free spaces becomes smaller. Parking inspection observes whether the parking has been done correctly. 

Every day, 7 cars and 4 walking inspectors work in the parking zones. There are dashboard cameras which automatically register parked cars.  Walking inspectors scan license plates with a tablet. One of them – Viktor Logvinov – has been working in the designated zone since day one. 

Viktor Logvinov, parking inspector: “As a walking inspector, I take to the streets in paid parking zones. First take the side of the street with odd numbers, and then cross to the one with even numbers. I register the beginning of parking time on cars. Then repeat this 15-minute circle, giving time for a driver to pay for the parking.

It’s not the easiest job – a lot of walking, watching, keeping concentration. And there are different kinds of people in the streets. But its manageable, I can handle it. I breathe fresh air and walk the beautiful streets. There are some negativities, but positive aspects are outweighing them. I like it. 

Traffic jams in the city center are quite common. So a driving inspector cannot always make it on time. That’s why these walking inspectors are needed – the pictures they take with the tablet are sent directly to the processing center. If a driver didn’t pay for the parking, an administrative violation is immediately issued. 

Viktor Logvinov, parking inspector: “At first, there was a lot of condemnation and doubt. So I had to break it down to people. Later, having learnt about it, they started asking questions and learning. So now, compared to the past, this has become much easier – people by themselves walk out of their cars, find paying stations and pay.

Viktor works 2 days on, 2 days off. But he doesn’t really have any spare time. After shifts in the streets, another life kicks in for him – smooth and resonant, like a song. 

Viktor Logvinov, parking inspector: “I’ve never thought I would take to singing. But our mother is very religious and brought a lot of this into our lives. So, having been brought up this way, I became a singer in a church choir. I have no regrets, because it is where my soul gets a rest. I always feel fantastic when I leave the cathedral after service”

Ekaterininskiy Cathedral in the town of Pushkino. Viktor’s main fan – is his wife. They got married recently, and Natasha tries not to miss the services where her husband sings. 

Viktor Logvinov, parking inspector: “I met my wife Natasha on a trip to France, we went there together with concerts and got acquainted. She says that one of the factors that made her interested in me was my singing. I was a solo performer then. And I hope she still likes it. It’s a totally different life, with a different rhythm. Yes, basically it means im working 7 days a week – but I get pleasure from what im doing. And I think my mood transpires to the entire family. I hope they all like it

Natalya Logvinova, Viktor’s wife: I think his singing is his calling. Here, he manages to fulfill his talent. We met thanks to singing and I know that he puts his all into this. He simply can’t live without it – singing all the time, sometimes even too much. He puts a bit of music into everything he does.

Viktor Logvinov, parking inspector: I’m not a professional musician, but I think God gave me a talent still – aint too modest right? But I’m happy it happened this way. It’s like a whole life to me. I would not have been the same if I didn’t have it.

This is Zhukovskogo Street – where I usually start working. It’s optimal, cos the concentration of cars is high here and they are more accessible. The way those are parked here makes it easier to make snapshots. 

Viktor Logvinov, parking inspector: People who park here regularly, already know me. We even shake hands when we meet. They already know everything. And it makes me comfortable. On other streets, I’m not that famous. And there, I often have to explain the actions to those who park there for the first time.

Viktor Logvinov is forced to answer drivers’ question quite often. They turn to the inspector for information – or to complain. 

Viktor Logvinov, parking inspector: “At first, I literally had to take people on tours – in order for them to understand the idea of what we’re doing. It requires steel nerves and patience, because some people become pushy when they don’t understand something. But then they can talk normally with you”

Good day, miss! Can I help you? Yes please

Viktor Logvinov, parking inspector: Tact and politeness – similar traits to any other job. You just have to be yourself and don’t be negative about anything. 

You don’t have to put the check under the windshield. I’ve already registered your parking session. So you can just leave your car now.

Viktor Logvinov, parking inspector: Sometimes I help a grandpa who doesn’t understand how to pay, and I feel glad I did. Or a woman with a child, for instance. Just usual human emotions there – of course im happy to do a good deed.

Victor joined his future wife in working for the paid parking system. Natasha still works at the data processing center, while Victor takes shots of plates in the streets. It is the young inspector’s first official job. Most of his work day he spends on foot – walking down six streets daily, from both sides. Inspectors have worked out the rules themselves – learning on their own mistakes. 

Viktor Logvinov, parking inspector: “The first day was a hard one, primarily cos I got lost and didn’t know my responsibilities. I had a month-long trial and during it we had a number of experiments to work out the rules. At first, I just walked and registered everything. Yes, we had an atmosphere of something new, of a start-up.  It still stays to some extent.  

Drivers had been told over time that parking would become paid. Before paying stations were launched, volunteers were brought into the streets – they handed out leaflets and explained the novelty to drivers. The project has already brought 63 million rubles of profit to the city. Although, its effectiveness is not measured in money.

Darya Fazletdinova, press officer at center for parking in St. Petersburg: “Our task is not gaining profit, but to make the city’s center less congested. We are reducing the load, we are increasing the movement speed and negate traffic jams. The last thing we have on our minds is that it also brings profit to the city’s budget. 

There have indeed been lesser cars on the streets in the paid parking zones. However,  traffic increased on the adjoining ones. Some drivers opt to save money and leave their cars a little further away – in a free parking area. 

Ruben Terteryan, CEO at center for parking in St. Petersburg: When we chose the pilot area for the paid parking zone, we wanted to avoid the mistakes made in Moscow. Over there, the initial paid parking zone was very small – much smaller than ours. And streets with free and paid parking were spread. It’s something we wanted to avoid in the first place. Our paid zone is much bigger than in Moscow. We also wanted to confine our zone to natural obstacles – in our case, Nevskiy prospect. So, if you need to get on the other side, you will think 3 times before parking across the prospect. 

To make the city center completely free of traffic jams, the paid zone will be continuously expanded. Central, Admiralteiskiy and Petrogradskiy districts will follow suit. 48 thousand parking spots in 2 years.

Viktor Logvinov, parking inspector: I think that paid parking is a great project. We unloaded the center from cars which used to be horribly parked. Now its all civilized and pretty. Me, as part of this project – I think I am contributing to this. 

Hi, everyone! I came to recharge

When my batteries die, I come to the office at Chuikovskogo to recharge – this is close to the paid parking zone. I can recharge, grab a snack or coffee. Then I take back to the streets.
The job is the most important thing to me. I have plans that I want to fulfil, I have a young family to feed and upkeep. My parents brought me up  this way – that you have to work. 

Leningrad in the 1970s and 80s. Back then, a car – not to mention a Lada or a Volga – was considered a luxury by the residents. But there was no problem with parking at all. Nobody even contemplated that someday you would have to pay for a spot close to your office or a store. Thinks flip-flopped over the years. Volga is no longer a luxury, but finding a parking spot has become a problem. One of the solutions –paid parking zones. 

Thousands of cars and millions of people. All of us are part of the big city. What will it look like tomorrow? That’s for us to decide. We are building our city together; every single one of us is building St. Petersburg

Viktor Logvinov, parking inspector: “St. Petersburg is a majestic city. So beautiful. And not majestic just as buildings and pretty balconies. It is metaphysically gorgeous with its people and their mentality.  It’s not just buildings, its people. I feel comfortable here and feel like I’m part of something very big

 

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