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An Epoch of Office Autoutopia

Delovoy Petersburg, Olesya Goncharova

16.11.2011

An Epoch of Office Autoutopia
The relocation of business centers from the center can resolve the problem of traffic congestions

They say about the introduction of a fee to enter the center of Saint Petersburg more and more frequently. Experts think that it will speed up the migration of offices to the outskirts whereas culture and tourism will prevail in the center.

Analysts say that nowadays there is a trend to form the centers of business activities at the most convenient locations. The perspectives of new business areas along the embankments and outside the central part of Petersburg for example in the areas of Lakhta, Okhta and Pulkovo are actively discussed.

For the time being most business centers and individual offices are located in the center of the city. It results in daily congestion in the direction of the center in the morning and back in the evening.

Besides, not all the offices have there own car parking and most car drivers do not want to pay for car parking. Office employees leave their cars on the streets by reducing the width of the roads from 10am till 6pm. As a result the visitors of shops and restaurants located nearby leave their cars in the second row. It brings about the problems not only with the traffic of public transport and private cars but with cleaning the streets as well.

Living near work

According to experts the tightening of fines for irregular parking would help relocate a part of cars to the car parking of business centers and make a part of office employees start using public transport. However the same experts add that such measures shall be combined with the improvement of the quality and quantity of public transport because trams, buses and metro are overcrowded in the morning and evening hours when people commute to work.

Companies managing business centers point out that even top management use their parking reluctantly.

It is practically impossible to make managers lease a flat near their work as the situation in the west.


A fee for entry

Even the owners of business centers agree that the process of the migration of offices to the outskirts would result in collecting a fee to enter the center of the city. This practice takes place in some European cities. For example, in London the entry to the center costs 9 pounds on weekdays between 7am and 6pm.

Conditionally the center of Petersburg can be outlined by the boundaries of Central, Admiralteysky, Vasileostrovsky and Petrogradsky districts. Ideally the traffic scheme will be the following: a driver buys a special chip giving him a right of entry to the center of the city and which contains the data to be read by electronic sensors. If a driver does not have any opportunity to pay for an entry, he could leave his car at intercepting car parks located next to the entries and take public transport to travel in the center.

The availability of chips would be regulated by road police stations where the information on the vehicles leaving without a chip can be accumulated and where they can issue a chip. The drivers who do not have an opportunity to pay would be granted some time to leave the center, According to experts, an entry fee shall be comparable with the cost of public transport ticket which is 1580 rubles nowadays.

The monies raised from payments could be invested into the development of public transport in particular the modernization of a car park and the labour payment by highly professional drivers.
The first step in the development of this dimension in Petersburg has become the terminals of the Western Speed Diameter. Such a check control system can be used for the entry into the center but instead of roadway gate special reading devices can be used.

A place for tourists

On the one hand, such introductions will increase capital output ratio 1 m2 in the central part. In the center of Petersburg tourism, culture and entertainment ought to be developed.
"On Nevsky prospect there should not be any business centers at all. Only shops and restaurants", according to Sergey Shvetsov, Director General of Atlantic City Business Center. The city is to operate primarily for tourists and business centers shall be located where they are reached at conveniently".

On the other hand, if a fee is raised to enter the central part of Petersburh, the life cost will increase significantly. It will cost more to deliver goods to the shops which the entrepreneurs will compensate by increasing the prices.

By the way, virtual offices can be a solution of the problem of too many vehicles when employees work at home, communicate with managers via the Internet and come to office once a week for a meeting.



Development of office property
- At present the market of office real estate of high quality in Saint Petersburg is approx. 2,5 mln m2.
-As of the first half of 2011 over 100k m2 of areas were commissioned.
- an average rental fee is 1000 rubles per month.
- The total area of Lakhta Center offices is approx. 500k m2.
- Large areas of office property are commissioned in Central and Petrogradsky districts.

Perspectives of payment for entry into the center
- Entry to the center of London costs 8 pounds, in Stockholm about 20 kronas.
- In average a car slot at the car park of a business center in Saint Petersburg costs between 3k up to 5k rubles per month if the car park is of an open type and between 5k and 15k if the car park is of an underground type.
- A fine for irregular parking in New York is over $ 100. The same amount is paid in Saint Petersburg.



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