Istanbul Plans Floating Car Parks
Istanbul is planning to introduce floating car parks to try to resolve the chronic traffic problems of Turkey's largest city, local officials said Tuesday.
The municipal car park operator said it will use out-of-service ferries anchored in the Bosphorus to create multi-storey lots near traffic hotspots.
The floating car parks will also have facilities such as cafes, recreation areas and art galleries, according to ISPARK.
Traffic congestion and a lack of parking is a major problem for the bustling metropolis of 16 million people.
The car park plans are among several mega projects launched in Turkey's main gateway city by the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
In October, Turkey opened a sea tunnel under the Bosphorus -- the world's first linking two continents -- and is also planning a third airport in Istanbul and a third bridge across the Bosphorus.
The city, with its wealth of spectacular Ottoman and Byzantine monuments, is Turkey's most visited, welcoming over 9.7 million foreign tourists this year, according to official figures.
Erdogan came under fire during mass street protests in June over the government's grandiose construction projects, which critics say are aimed at wooing voters with a series of elections looming in 2014 and 2015.
Initially, a 400-vehicle floating parking lot costing $12 million (almost nine million euros) will start operating in Istanbul, ISPARK said, but did not give a timeframe.