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50,000 new parking spaces for Guangzhou
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Five large car parks will be built this year at Guangzhou metro stations as part of efforts to increase the city's total parking capacity by 50,000, authorities said over the weekend.

Speaking at the city's ongoing annual political consultative conference, which opened on Feb 16, Wang Dong, director of the Guangzhou urban planning bureau, said the local government plans to build large-scale parking lots at key stations to give motorists better access to the metro service and downtown destinations.

"We will increase the total number of parking spaces in the city by 150,000 between now and 2010, with 50,000 coming this year," Wang said.

The total cost of the project will be 1 billion yuan ($140 million), he said.

"The additional spaces will make it easier for private car owners to use the public transport system, so they don't have to park their cars downtown," Wang said. Construction will begin soon, he said.

Wang said authorities were also planning to build an underground car park at the Tianhe Sports Center, which is close to some of the city's biggest shopping malls and office buildings.

In the government report to the annual people's congress, Guangzhou Mayor Zhang Guangning said authorities will also seek private funding for the development of the proposed car park at the Tianhe Sports Center and also the ones at Guangzhou East Railway Station and the city's International Convention and Exhibition Center.

He said investors might be allowed to develop additional commercial activities at the sites to boost their returns.

In addition, Wang said the urban planning authority has introduced a new ruling that stipulates all new property developments must provide one car parking space for every 200 sq m of residential accommodation.

According to official figures for last year, Guangzhou had more than 1 million cars on its roads, with 600 new ones being licensed every day.

(China Daily February 19, 2008)

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