Kazakh website has users ‘parking’ mad

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan — Kazakh drivers are parking mad, and one website operator isn’t going to take it anymore.

Roman Slegin, a 29-year-old software programmer, has created a website showing photos of cars parked outrageously illegally in several cities in Kazakhstan.

How outrageous? Photos show cars parked in the middle of busy streets, pedestrian pathways, even a flower garden.

“Like many others, I face the problem [of] bad parking every day,” Mr. Slegin said. “I used to work in a bank, where being late for work bore penalties, [including] salary cuts. Many times in the mornings, I couldn’t take my car out of the parking lot because of incorrectly parked cars.”

His website (http://www.oselparking.kz) showcases many awkwardly placed vehicles whose drivers parked any which way they could, and the site’s popularity has proven that Mr. Slegin is not alone in exasperation for careless parkers.

People in Kazakhstan have posted more than 1,500 images of bad parking on city streets on the website oselparking.kz, including SUVs parked snugly in the middle of narrow streets or left on sidewalks, saloons stretched out to block in three parked cars at once, and a stretch limousine jutting out across an entire lane of traffic. (oselparking.kz)

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People in Kazakhstan have posted more than 1,500 images of bad parking ... more >

“It started as a jokelike project,” he said. “But now we are getting so much feedback from ordinary people [as well as] nongovernmental organizations. We now have more than 1,000 registered users.”

Those users have posted more than 1,500 images on the website — SUVs parked snugly in the middle of narrow streets or left on sidewalks, sedans blocking in three other parked cars, a stretch limousine jutting out across an entire lane of traffic.

Other vehicles appear abandoned in middle of the street, as if their owners suddenly tired of their cars or forgot how to drive.

And alongside the images are torrents of irate comments.

“If these [people] park anywhere, what is the point of having paved sidewalks and curbs? We may as well just walk in the roads,” posted one angry pedestrian.

Another posted a photo of an abandoned car blocking the entrance to a park, with the comment: “Doesn’t have the strength, patience or gas to get to the parking lot — but plenty of nerve.”

Online spats have broken out in the comments section, with users labeling rival neighborhoods or cities as the worst offenders.

“I doubt drivers want to show up on a website about people who park wrongly,” said Mr. Slegin. “And it works. We are already getting feedback from drivers saying that now they are more cautious when parking because they don’t want their cars photographed and put online.”

He has enlisted two fellow crusaders against bad parking to help manage the site and patrol the streets for evidence to pass on to the police.

“Our service now has a feature designed only for police, who can log into the site with special permissions and see not only photos of cars, but the exact time of the photo and address on the map where it was taken, so they can use them as proof in fining violators,” he said.

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