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Sobyanin Takes 2 Steps to Fight Traffic

Cars parked three deep near City Hall on Tverskaya Ulitsa on Monday. Mayor Sobyanin wants more parking spaces. Vladimir Filonov

New Mayor Sergei Sobyanin took two steps toward combating Moscow's notorious traffic jams Monday: compelling City Hall officials to start their working days an hour earlier and canceling the construction of a downtown office building in favor of a parking garage.

City Hall officials arrived at work by 8 a.m., RIA-Novosti reported, following a recommendation by Sobyanin that they should get to the office an hour earlier to decrease traffic jams.

Sobyanin said Friday that the new working hours should be approved by the end of this week, but most City Hall officials were ordered over the weekend to get to work earlier starting Monday, an unidentified city official told RIA-Novosti. He did not elaborate on who issued the order, but said many arrived at work even before 8 a.m.

President Dmitry Medvedev told Sobyanin when he appointed him as mayor last month that the city's traffic would be a priority, and Sobyanin announced on Thursday that his first step would be to create more parking spaces.

On Monday, Sobyanin ordered that construction plans be called off for a new office building on Khitrovskaya Ploshchad near the Kitai-Gorod metro station so an underground garage could be built there instead, RIA-Novosti reported. He said the change of plans would be "settled" with the building's unspecified investors and a park would be planted on the square.

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