In dense city situations, parking is an issue.  This is even more true for Santiago, being confined within a valley, and specifically Providencia, which is the most tightly-packed part of the city. Anyone who lives in a city is accustomed to seeing cars parked along the side of the road, end to end, usually in designated spaces with parking meters.

In Santiago, there are no parking meters, but most of the time when you see cars on the side of the road it is in marked-out spaces. Legal, in other words.

But… I have noticed some roads here (usually 1-way) that were clearly meant to have a certain amount of lanes (2, for example), but they have cars parked up and down one side, leaving 1 1/3 lanes of usable space. The 1/3 leftover lane serves as a motorcycle and bicycle lane, as long as no-one opens the door of their car:)

How did this happen?  Chile’s police, the “Carabineros”, are not the types who would let you get away with a parking violation. But they are the types who would let you do so if many others were doing so also.

So, somehow, some hooligan parked on the side of road, and once they did so everyone else followed suit, not wanting to miss out on free parking. And they have all gotten away with it to this day.

Here is an example. (Thanks to Google’s street view, I didn’t have to go running around with a camera.)

This is a road in eastern Ñuñoa called Pucará. As you can see, there are lines running down the middle. It is clearly meant to be 2-lane.

This is the same road, but with parked cars.

This road is clearly low-traffic, so It is not causing any problems right now, but during rush hour? I have seen situations on roads like this, where having the extra lane would have really helped speed up the traffic.