Thursday, July 21, 2005

Shoppers scramble for the elusive parking slot

Shoppers scramble for the elusive parking slot
The Hindu

Police book about 630 cases of parking violations everyday

BANGALORE: You see them everywhere and most frequently in the central business district around Mahatma Gandhi Road, Brigade Road and Residency Road and often on Richmond Road.

Cars that double park, for some minutes at a time, are a common sight on such roads. This happens despite the traffic police booking on an average 630 vehicles each week for wrong parking. The amount of fines collected from parking rule violators, including those towed away by the "Tiger" is estimated to be Rs. 60,000 to Rs. 64,000 a day.

Between January and June this year, 1,13,079 cases of wrong parking were booked in the city up from 1.44 lakh for 2004. "Even allowing for more vehicles having been registered over one year, it shows parking violations are on the rise," said a senior traffic police officer. Even in the case of double parking, the driver is usually warned and given time to move away before being fined, he added.

For many who are forced to work or go shopping in the shopping areas, it is just a question of not being able to find space to park.

Brigade Road and now Commercial Street do have metered parking but if you exceed the designated time, you risk being towed away.

For many shoppers, the malls with spacious parking lots have become more attractive than hopping from shop to shop and counting the minutes.

Software professional Nisha Kamath who shops regularly along Mahatma Gandhi Road has found a way out as many other shoppers have.

"It is easier to find a parking slot on Church Street or Rest House Road and that extra bit of walking can only do you good," she says. At the same time she is caustic about extra parking space not having been planned despite the growth in the number of vehicles.

For college student Abhishak, the freedom from paying for parking is welcome but like many in his age group, he is worried about parking in the wrong spot or finding his mirror or other fittings stolen.

"Even parking lots inside cinemas have become crowded and that is why many of us prefer going to multiplexes paying more," he says.

The traffic police say they are not exactly indifferent to the problem of parking space. They point out that the BMP is planning multi-level parking lots at several places and if commercial interests do not prevail, in a year or two there should be ample parking space in most commercial areas.


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