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With the introduction of this system, Ghent is taking an important step towards a more user-friendly and efficient parking policy, in which technology plays a crucial role in combating misuse of parking facilities.

A new parking system has been put into use in Voldersstraat in the heart of Ghent, which should put an end to the long-term occupancy of short-term parking spaces. These parking spaces, referred to as 'Shop & Go', offer motorists the opportunity to park for free for a period of up to thirty minutes. However, this system, intended to allow shoppers to do their shopping quickly and efficiently, is often abused by drivers who occupy parking spaces longer than permitted.

To tackle this problem, the city of Ghent has decided to install advanced parking sensors. These sensors accurately record the moment of arrival and departure of a vehicle. Based on this data, parking attendants can check whether a car exceeds the permitted parking duration. If a vehicle is parked for longer than the allowed thirty minutes, a fine of 40 euros will automatically be imposed.

The new technology eliminates the need for parking discs or purchasing a parking ticket. This not only makes the system more user-friendly, but also more efficient in enforcing parking rules. The parking spaces can be recognized by the traffic sign E9a (blue zone) with an additional sign stating 'max. 30 minutes' is stated. These zones are further marked with a green line.

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The misuse of 'Shop & Go' parking spaces in Voldersstraat in Ghent is a significant problem that the city has addressed with the recent implementation of advanced parking sensors.

In other cities such as Asse, the 'Shop & Go' places are valid from Monday to Saturday, from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm and from 13:00 pm to 18:00 pm. It is important to emphasize that no exceptions are made for holders of a resident card, care provider card or a parking card for people with disabilities. This strict policy is intended to guarantee the flow and availability of parking spaces in busy shopping areas.

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Similar systems have been introduced in other cities, where parking violators must automatically pay the fee of 25 euros per day. In Ghent, the offender receives a fine, which must be paid within eight days.

This initiative is seen as a step forward in urban mobility policy. The introduction of parking sensors has made it easier for the city to enforce parking rules and thus improve the accessibility of shops for short visits. This in turn should lead to a more vibrant and accessible city centre, benefiting both retailers and consumers.

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