Thursday, May 21, 2009

The city parks solutions and drives away with problems

The city parks solutions and drives away with problems

City motorists have little choice but to park their vehicles on roadsides, leading to traffic congestion. It's high time BBMP strictly enforced building bylaws to pave way for sustainable
parking in all parts of the city. Basavaraj Itnaal finds out the details

Basavaraj Itnaal

Development has its own pitfalls. It is not uncommon that fighting and fisticuffs break out in the city over parking spaces. You can buy a car or a two-wheeler, but finding a place to park could be an ordeal. Now with Nanos poised to make owning a car much more affordable, there could be a real jam on city roads.
There are nearly three million vehicles in the city of which a million are cars. If parked them one behind the other, we would need a road, 4,500kms long.
And the combined length of major roads in the city is only about 500km! The number of vehicles entering the roads is growing at 1,000 per month, and roads are standing still.
Unfortunately, Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagar Palike (BBMP) has done little to save the city from congestion due to roadside parking.
Traffic expert MN Sreehari says BBMP's approach to both public parking and parking at individual buildings is flawed.
"BBMP has not created parking space where it is needed. Instead it builds multilevel parking complexes where it has vacant land. There are close to three million vehicles in the city and they have to be parked somewhere," he says.
Sustainable parking
Sreehari says only the strict enforcement of building bylaws would pave the way for sustainable parking. The law demands that all multi-storied buildings reserve their basements for parking. Although most highrises have basements, they are not used for parking. As a result, the vehicles that were supposed to be housed in the basement spill over to city roads.
Dilip Rau, administrator, BBMP, says the public-private partnership (PPP) model in parking infrastructure need to be reviewed. "The PPP model for parking may not be the best. If we are to learn from the situation at Garuda Mall, KG Maharaja Mall and Divyashree Mall, parking lots must be created by BBMP, and commercial complexes should be treated separately for PPP. They must not be seen in combination with each other," he says.
Sreehari says Garuda Mall and KG Maharaja Mall were envisaged as public parking lots and the developers were given free land in both cases.
"They have been now turned into pure commercial ventures weaved around the interests of the developers and not that of the motorist," he points out. Garuda's 1,000 odd parking spaces are not enough for the shoppers, and so is the case with KG Maharaja.
Congestion magnets
"Instead of easing parking problem in Gandhinagar and Brigade Road area, these malls have become congestion magnets," Sreehari points out.
On the other hand, BBMP built a parking lot on JC Road in 2005. Even with a capacity for 500 cars, hardly anyone uses it.
BBMP engineers say that they have finalised more multilevel car parking (MLCP) lots in the city. Under Swiss Challenge method parking lots have been proposed at Freedom Park, SP Road, JC Road, Surana College in Kengeri (opposite football stadium), Nagarabhavi Ambedkar College, Sante Maidana in Yelahanka, RTO in Yelahanka, Shivajinagar, Russel Market, Near Subhashnagar BBMP building (near city shed), near Hosmat Hospital in Richmond Town, opposite Divyashree Chambers, Ane Park, Malleswaram 8th Cross and near Jogupalya market.
The developers are yet to submit a detailed project report and the parking capacity is yet to be decided.
The new Traffic and Transportation Management Centres (TTMCs) would also have MLCPs. However, the capacity would vary from 50-200, says Sreehari. "TTMC parking lots at Byappanahalli, JP Nagar, Vijayangar, Kengeri, Shivajinagar, Koramangala, Yeshwanthpura, Jayanagar 4th Block, Peenya and KR Puram will be ready in few months," adds Sreehari.


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