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In a bid to help solve Osaka’s notorious parking woes, city authorities said they will offer 30 minutes of free parking at public lots near JR Osaka Station on weekdays.

The Osaka Municipal Highway Public Corp. and the Kinki Regional Construction Bureau separately offered drivers 30 minutes of parking at underground parking lots last year on a trial basis, they said.

The campaigns instantly attracted drivers, and the number of parking violations substantially decreased, apparently reflecting the tendency for Osaka people to be impetuous and tightfisted, the authorities said. “It was impossible to begin with charging Osaka people for parking for just 10 or 20 minutes,” said an officer at the Sonezaki police station, which is constantly combating parking violations in the city’s central Umeda business district.

Police tow an average of 10 vehicles a day from the diamond district south of JR Osaka Station, which is bordered by National Route 2 and Midosuji and Yotsubashi avenues, despite the large-scale parking lots available that can accommodate about 1,500 vehicles, they said.

Sonezaki police questioned 60 repeat parking violators last year and found the most prevalent reasons for illegal parking was that the drivers were “in a hurry” and “didn’t think it would take much time to unload their goods.”

More than 90 percent of such cases involved a vehicle being illegally parked for less than 30 minutes, they added.

When highway public corporation authorities conducted the free parking trials on three occasions last year, they found the number of drivers who used the lots for less than 30 minutes tripled, and the total number of users nearly doubled, they said.

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