Free parking on private estate roads serves everyone

With the recent announcement of the impending increase in public parking charges ("Public parking gets costlier"; July 1), there have been suggestions that parking along public roads at private housing estates be charged ("Levy HDB rates or higher to park on private estate roads"; July 4).

Singapore is a country first and a city second, unlike other city-states which are part of a country.

Traffic congestion and the need to curb cars entering cities is one of the major issues faced by most cities in the world. Measures to reduce congestion are often in place in cities, while free street-side parking spaces are often available in the cities' outskirts.

Singapore has the same concerns as such cities. There are limited street-side chargeable parking spaces in the inner city, while on public roads that do not serve major amenities and with less traffic usage, as in private residential estates, parking is often free.

Street-side parking is an intrinsic function of roads and it allows for human activities along these roads, which would otherwise be deserted.

These free parking spaces serve all Singaporeans, not just residents, when they visit facilities such as schools, religious places and so on in certain locations.

While every square inch of space in Singapore is valuable, it does not mean that there is a need to develop every square inch of space into a revenue-generating facility. For instance, there are green spaces such as parks, which are available for all to enjoy at no cost.

It would be disastrous for Singapore as a society to start splitting hairs on what is deemed a fair contribution.

Clara Ng Wai Soon (Ms)