63 lakh vehicles in Bengaluru, but where's the space to park?
By Christin Mathew Philip & Sangeeta Bora | Published: 23rd September 2016 04:14 AM |
BENGALURU: On Thursday, the traffic police’s revised towing charges came into effect across the city. This was seen as an effort to bring down illegal parking. But experts feel that the decision may not bring about any change on the ground.
Urban experts say that without adequate parking facilities, the move will only help in generating revenue and is unlikely to reduce illegal parking in the city.
Motorists are fuming over the three-fold increase in towing charges. “There is hardly any place in the city to park vehicles. It’s unfair to increase the towing fee without providing parking space,” said K Muniappa, a motorist on Commercial Street.
As of June 2016, the city has 63.81 lakh vehicles and is adding more by the day. But the city has few dedicated parking areas, forcing motorists to park on the roads. Traffic experts say that a car requires a parking space of 14sqm, while a two-wheeler needs about 3sqm.
According to traffic police, wrong parking is the top traffic violation in the city. Between January and August this year, 15.63 lakh of the total 58.08 lakh cases booked were for wrong parking.
R Hitendra, Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic), said “Motorists take advantage of the low penalty for wrong parking. We hope the new towing charges will make people think twice before parking a vehicle wrongly on the road.”
Plans yet to take off
While several of BBMP’s on-street and multi-level parking proposals remain on paper, BMTC has succeeded in building nine Traffic and Transit Management Centre (TTMC) with multi-level parking facilities. Private firms have now cashed in on this opportunity by renting out space for parking at high charges.
At present, BBMP has multi-level parking facilities in three places and street parking facilities on two major roads. The BBMP is also planning to create a multi-level parking space at Freedom Park. Proposals were made to build such facilities at Russel Market and Gandhi Bazaar also, but no progress has been achieved. A BBMP official said, “We can easily identify areas to construct parking lots. Buildings that don’t comply with laws can be demolished.”
Like the BBMP, BMTC too provides multi-level parking facility in nine places. Except the ones at Jayanagar, Shantinagar and Yeshwantpur, many motorists are unaware of BMTC’s parking facilities in other spots.
A BMTC official said, “We have constructed TTMCs in major bus terminals. The facilities have added to BMTC’s revenue. The next TTMC will be build under PPP model, so BMTC will not have any capital investment. This is a model which BBMP can emulate since it has more land.”
Another proposal by BBMP was the pay-and-park project on 52 roads in the Central Business District. Tender for the project was announced three times in the last few years, but very few participated in the bidding and none of them qualified. BBMP official added that they will be calling fresh tender bids.
Multiple solutions required
Pranav Jha, a traffic expert and member of citizens’ group Praja RAAG said, “Increasing towing charges is not going to solve ground issues. We need to come up with multiple solutions which are simple and can be easily implemented.
“Also, there is no clarity on parking signs. How is one supposed to know till what distance parking is not allowed? The area should be clearly marked. The B-TRAC project for traffic improvement needed `22 to `25 crore to run for five years. Nobody is interested in small-scale projects.”