story in decan herald on 18.12.11
Parking space shrinks as City roads burst at seams
Manoeuvring through the narrow bylanes of Gandhinagar, Karthik N S, software engineer, looks for a parking space. After an ardous search, he finally manages to get a space just enough to squeeze his small car in a corner. And the luxury comes at price of Rs 20.
The experience of Karthik is no different from that of anyone who uses a four-wheeler on the busy and congested roads of Bangalore. The vehicular population in the City has gone up by 10.84 per cent in a decade (2000-2009), according to the statistics available.
However, there has been no corresponding expansion of the parking space and the civic agencies have failed miserably in this regard. And vehicle users continue to suffer, often paying a hefty price.
“The measures taken by the civic agencies have only aggravated the situation. The efforts to de-congest the streets have had no bearing on the parking spaces,” Karthik lamented.
Unauthorised parking zones have only added to the woes.
“A man just gives you a slip demanding parking fee, claiming himself to be a contractor, but without any identification. Vehicle users have no other alternative but to pay up, so that they can park their vehicles,” Karthik said.
On MG Road, parking space for a two-wheeler costs not less than Rs five. The amount, however, has been determined at will, without any basis. With parking space being a luxury on the busy road, vehicle users just pay up without any question. The desperation on the part of vehicle users is more pronounced in Malleswaram. People are ready to pay up a fine of Rs 100 to park their four-wheelers in a no parking zone. Eateries, which have mushroomed in a primarily residential locality, have led to the mess. “It is better to pay Rs 100 and ensure that the car is within our eyesight than park it in an unknown location,” contends Vasant, with a tinge of sarcasm.
N K Shankar, a resident of Malleswaram, blamed the regional transport authority for its failure to exercise control on burgeoning vehicular population. Traffic and Transit Management Centres (TTMCs) set up across the City with huge parking spaces too have been of little help in easing the situation. Little thought has gone into the location of TTMCs.
The parking space conundrum has cast its adverse effects on the business in Chickpet. Lack of space to park their vehicles has deterred people from shopping at Chickpet, a commercial area with narrow lanes.
“I used to have customers since eight in the morning, till about five years ago. With the parking problem worsening day by day, few people now turn out at my shop,” said Manak Chand Lunkad, proprietor of an a electrical appliances shop. Lunkad traced the malady to tempos and lorries which make their way to the shops to deliver goods. While it really is a nuisance, traders cannot do without supplies. Talks with traffic police to ensure a semblance of order have not yielded any fruit, Lankad said.
Some ingenious traders have managed to spare themselves of the ordeal by shifting their shops to B V K Iyengar Road where parking has been banned. Lunkad opines that the State government or the local civic body should provide them with a separate space, perhaps even a couple of kilometers away, for parking the heavy vehicles to bring the goods to Chickpet.
According to Sajjan Raj Mehta, member of the State Taxes Committee of Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FKCCI), the traders have mooted a proposal to ease the traffic congestion by asking the authorities to ensure that all four-wheelers are parked in the designated parking bays, despite them being a few kilometers away. “We can then have a prepaid autorickshaw stand in Chickpet for commuters to travel to and from Chickpet for their shopping,” he says.
Mehta suggests that parking slots for four-wheelers could be located at their Maharaja parking complex near Abhinay theatre or at Alankar Plaza whereas two-wheelers can be allowed to be parked near Bandi Mutt near Chickpet. He hoped that there could be some solution once the Chickpet metro station becomes operational.