Re­served park­ing en­cour­ages vis­its to el­derly par­ents

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By SHI XIAOFENG in Hangzhou shixf @chi­ SHEN YI­FAN / CHINA DAILY

A large res­i­den­tial com­mu­nity in Hangzhou, Zhe­jiang province, has be­gun to re­serve park­ing spa­ces for peo­ple vis­it­ing their el­derly par­ents, mak­ing it eas­ier for chil­dren to drop by on a reg­u­lar ba­sis.

The Cuiyuan com­mu­nity in the eastern city’s Xihu dis­trict is home to about 10,000 res­i­dents, al­most 20 per­cent of whom are age 60 or older — and most of them live alone.

To en­cour­age peo­ple to visit el­derly rel­a­tives, the com­mu­nity man­age­ment of­fice has marked 18 park­ing spa­ces that can be pre­ordered and used for free on Satur­days and Sun­days from 8 am to 7 pm. The max­i­mum stay is five and a half hours, ac­cord­ing to Shen Yi­fan, direc­tor of the of­fice.

“We vis­ited many fam­i­lies to do re­search and found that the av­er­age fam­ily visit lasted for about that length of time,” Shen said.

Cuiyuan, which was built in the 1980s and has room for 600 ve­hi­cles, charges 4 yuan (60 US cents) an hour to park, or 20 yuan for a full day. It’s small money, but the man­age­ment of­fice said it is aimed at im­prov­ing con­ve­nience, so peo­ple with lim­ited time will be en­cour­aged to visit lonely loved ones.

“Care for the old is a tra­di­tional virtue and part of Chi­nese cul­ture,” Shen said. “By do­ing our part, we want to en­cour­age young peo­ple to show more love and de­vo­tion to their par­ents. Good cul­ture should be car­ried for­ward.”

The ser­vice, which started on Thursday and could be ex­tended af­ter a trial run, was used by three peo­ple last week­end, in­clud­ing an el­derly res­i­dent sur­named Yu who re­served a spot for her daugh­ter.

“She and her hus­band visit every Sun­day, but they sel­dom find a park­ing space, which means my son-in-law has to wait in the car and my daugh­ter comes to the house. They bring me some fruit, but she al­ways has to leave af­ter a few min­utes,” Yu told Qian­jiang Evening News.

“This Sun­day, they didn’t need to worry about that. My daugh­ter even cooked for me and had din­ner with me.”

Work­ers paint the re­served park­ing spa­ces at the Cuiyuan com­mu­nity in Hangzhou, Zhe­jiang province.

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