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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

City to Crack Down On Its Illegal Parkers

As part of a crackdown on illegal parking, Mayor Yury Luzhkov has introduced new enforcement measures that include making wider use of that bane of Western city life: The parking ticket.

"Illegal parking is an enormous problem," said Andrei Shavelyev, a spokesman for the State Automobile Inspectorate, or GAI, in an interview Friday. "People can't drive down the streets. Snowplows can't clear the streets."

Under the mayoral decree signed Wednesday, the city's fleet of tow trucks will be increased from eight to 150 "over the next several years," production of wheel locks will be boosted and parking tickets will be handed out more often.

"Muscovites are accustomed to parking where they please without regard for signs," said a GAI officer on Novy Arbat on Friday who asked not to be identified. "We have to educate them in the ways of the civilized world."

While fines in Western cities run to hundreds of dollars and are usually diligently collected, Russia's capital has been a haven for illegal parkers.

Parking tickets have been used for years in Moscow, but only in selected areas such as Sheremetyevo-2 Airport.

GAI officials said in interviews Friday that the need for beefed up enforcement had been forced upon them by the growth in the number of vehicles on the roads. In 1993 alone, the number of cars registered to Muscovites increased 15 percent from 1.3 million to 1.5 million, according to GAI statistics.

A typical parking fine will run about 3,000 rubles, according to Shavelyev. It may be paid at any Sberegatelny Bank.

But several traffic police interviewed Wednesday doubted that the sum would be sufficient to make parking tickets effective in the fight against illegal parking.

"Three thousand rubles -- it's nothing," said GAI officer Alexander Lyakhov. "Drivers don't care if they are fined or not. The only way to get their attention is to tow them away or put a wheel lock on their tires."

The fine can amount to 15,000 rubles if the car is towed -- and the Luzhkov decree allows for the car to be sold if not collected within "a reasonable amount of time."