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Moscow Sets Plan to Fight World’s Worst Traffic Jams

Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin unveiled a five-year plan to fight traffic jams ranked the worst in the world.

A set of proposals released today, which are due to be approved in the next month, would place restrictions on long-haul trucks entering the Moscow region from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays. Sobyanin also seeks to remove trolleybuses from the city center.

Moscow drivers suffer the longest traffic jams of the world’s 20 major cities, and the average motorist spent 2 1/2 hours stuck in traffic at least once in the last three years, International Business Machines Corp. said in a study in July. More than 40 percent of Moscow drivers reported sitting in jams for more than 3 hours, three times the survey average, IBM said.

President Dmitry Medvedev, who is seeking to transform Moscow into an international financial center, last month told Sobyanin that one of his main tasks would be dealing with worsening traffic. “Everyone talks about it; it is very difficult to move around in Moscow,” Medvedev said.

The plan also calls for increasing parking spaces, which now meet 30 percent of needed capacity, creating a system for issuing parking tickets and building more roads.

The administration of former Mayor Yury Luzhkov proposed charging motorists a congestion fee to drive in the city center. While this measure was not included in the new plan, it suggested levying a payment for use of certain roads which would vary depending on congestion levels.

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