Monday, January 31, 2005

Unmanned parking lots will pose problems

Unmanned parking lots will pose problems
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: Bangalore City Corporation’s (BCC) decision to scrap parking fee seems akin to cutting off the nose to cure a cold. Without parking fee, there will be no parking attendants in the 268 public parking lots in the city, and this according to one expert, can complicate issues concerning traffic congestion, orderliness and security of vehicles.

Instead of taking action on alleged official-parking contractor nexus within and bringing the corrupt to book, the BCC has chosen to revoke the fee and worsen traffic woes. Without providing an alternative to the parking lot monitoring system whose problems it could not handle, the BCC seems to have erred in scrapping a system that worked.

Parking attendants, though blamed for being exploitative, served three purposes. First, they would question anyone removing a vehicle from the lot without a ticket and prevent thefts. Their mere presence acted as a deterrent.

Second, they ensured optimal use of parking space to maximise their daily collections. By guiding and personally adjusting haphazard parking, they ensured that more vehicles, specially two-wheelers were packed into the available space. This had mitigated the parking space paucity to a great extent.

Third, the attendants ensure that parking is within designated areas and often warn those who parked outside the line. Without attendants, parking in no-parking zones is likely to increase manifold thereby increasing the burden on the traffic police in regulation.

M.N. Sreehari, chairman, Traffic Engineers and Safety Trainers (TEST) and professor, M.S. Ramaiah Institute of Technology (MSRIT), was of the opinion that the BCC was being penny-wise, pound-foolish. ‘‘Two lakh new vehicles are being added to the city’s current tally of 25 lakh vehicles each year. Parking is already the biggest problem. With no attendants, wrong, parallel, angular and perpendicular parking of two-wheelers will rise and clog roads. With this, no amount of road widening and multi-storeyed parking lots will help ease congestion,’’ he warned.

The professor was scathing in his criticism of the BCC. ‘‘This is being done to suit the Mayor’s whims and fancies. A scientific study is required before such a policy decision is taken,’’ he added.

A few rupees an hour in exchange for order on the roads is indeed a small price for any motorist. In any case, one pays three to five times the fee at private parking lots.


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