Kunming's status as one of the cities with the highest vehicle ownership rates in the country is in no imminent danger – the city now has 1.1 million registered motorized vehicles, with 900 vehicles being registered daily, according to a Dushi Shibao report.
Kunming car sales have rebounded from a several-month slowdown caused by the global financial crisis. Statistics provided by the Kunming Public Security Bureau's Vehicle Management Department show that car sales are approaching the all-time high experienced in late 2005 and early 2006, when nearly 1,000 vehicles were being registered daily.
Despite being relatively small in comparison to other Chinese cities – it is China's 23rd-largest city – Kunming became the ninth Chinese city to have one million registered vehicles last year.
Conditions are ripe for auto sales in Kunming to continue to increase in the coming months. The recent completion of the city's double-decker second ring road, the local economy's recovery from the effects of the global economic downturn and a growing second-hand car market have made the idea of purchasing a vehicle more feasible to the average Kunming resident.
Ramifications of the growing number of vehicles on Kunming's streets are apparent. In addition to increased air pollution, the Chinese saying "many monks, not much porridge" (僧多粥少) aptly sums up the parking situation throughout the city. Many of the city's parking lots are filled during the day, leading to many Kunming drivers parking illegally, often in bike lanes or on sidewalks.
To address this problem, the city government has recently announced that automobiles parked on sidewalks that block the yellow ground tiles intended for blind people will receive 50 yuan parking tickets on the spot. Whether the city has the ability – and will – to enforce this new regulation should be apparent soon, just as it was with last year's ill-fated attempt to ban the unnecessary use of car horns.
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