PAMPANGA

Pelayo: The evolution of parking spaces

The Fort



MATTER is everywhere in highly urbanized cities such as in Angeles. It occupies a lot of space and we now live in an era where space does really matter.

In Hong Kong, all new structures go up as high as they can. The average hotel room size there is usually smaller than in other countries. Most HK residents can’t even afford private housing. This is because they don’t have enough space. They either go up or reclaim an area.

While most structures in HK go up, a similarly land-scarce city – the country Singapore - had set up a master plan of creating infrastructures underground. As a matter of fact, SG has already moved some utilities below ground, including airconditoning pipes, train lines, and even a multi-lane highway.

China, in spite of its vast land area, is not immune to overcrowding. A Chinese woman’s story from Nanning went viral on social media after she purchased a parking space for 200,000 Yuan (around P1.4M) but can only exit from her car through the sunroof.

Twenty years ago, parking space was not even an issue. Most establishments in Pampanga and Angeles City had ample parking spaces even for the long and wide-bodied American cars like the Mustangs, Impalas and Oldsmobiles. When I was in college, I used to park my car just behind the university at no cost. This is not the case nowadays.

In the HUCs in the Philippines, the same situation like in HK’s or SG’s parking lot problems had already begun. Who would have thought that one day, most malls here in Angeles and other designated areas within the city will implement a pay parking scheme?

Angeles University Foundation sacrificed a part of the school’s gymnasium for a three-storey parking. It used to be enough to accommodate the vehicles of doctors, medical staff, faculty and students, but not anymore.

In August of last year, the 17th City Council of Angeles approved the On Street Pay Parking ordinance to help eliminate traffic congestion in the city.

MarQuee Mall started its payment scheme with a 10-peso parking fee for its open space, rain or shine. However, effective last July 1st of this year, they decided to double the fee to P20, minimum, with the same under-the-sun space but added the inconvenience of paying the ticket inside the mall. But I like the way how they added more convenient spaces for the PWDs.

The Newpoint Mall’s pay parking area is reasonable because of its high-cost infrastructure, plus the cars get covered from the heat of the sun or from the wet of the rain.

Kudos to Robinsons malls for maintaining free parking. The one in Balibago is well-covered. I hope Ms. Jodee and other executives from Starmills will keep it that way.

A slow clap for SM Pampanga and SM Clark for still leaving some open area for free parking. Yes, there might be some truth in the saying that “nothing lasts forever.” Both malls now offer multilevel steel parking space for a minimum of P20. Take the valet service and you’ll get slapped with a hefty P100 (that’s already equivalent to a fastfood value meal). Leave the car overnight and they’ll charge you double. Compare that to a cheaper Clark airport’s park-and-fly for they only charge P90 a day. At SM Clark, finding a free spot is like going on a treasure hunt. The usual commodious spaces I used to park in are now reserved for either a BPO company’s manager or its employees and staff.

But there were times during emergency situations like flooding when some of these mall giants offered free parking.

I suddenly remember Stewie Griffin’s character on Family Guy who said, “I don’t like change!” But the only constant thing on Earth is change. That’s why to those who reside near SM Telabastagan and still enjoy a lot of open spaces as free parking, my advice to you is to enjoy it while it lasts.

--oo0oo--

Jose “Kuya Jay” Pelayo IV is the president of the Metro Angeles City Journalists Association Inc. and the president of Pampanga-Tarlac Energy Press Corps. For comments and suggestions, email at 4th.pelayo@gmail.com


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