THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The city’s largest multi-level car parking (MLCP) facility with a capacity of 1,800 four-wheel vehicles has been opened on the Technopark campus. Information technology company UST has completed the construction of the facility within 34 months and according to company officials, they will be adding five more floors in phase II of the project to accommodate a total of 4,000 cars.
This project should be an eye-opener for the city corporation which has failed to provide adequate paid parking facilities for the public despite the growing demand. “The parking facility has been conceptualised in tune with the requirements of our employees, as they slowly return to the offices. We could complete the project in a short time despite the challenging Covid phase.
In the future, when we add five more floors, this would become the largest parking facility in the state. We are also planning to install solar panels on top of the MLCP in line with our sustainability initiative and our goal to be carbon neutral,” Shilpa Menon, centre head, UST Thiruvananthapuram.
Lack of adequate parking spaces in busy areas in the capital is making motorists park on curb sides haphazardly. On top of that, the police impose fines on the motorists without giving them options or designated spaces for parking.
President of the Federation of Residents’ Association Thiruvananthapuram M S Venugopal said the civic body has been a failure in providing even the basic amenities for the public. “The demand for designated parking lots remains unaddressed. It’s because of pure apathy from the authorities. Without providing the facilities, the authorities impose fines on motorists. The only MLCP at the corporation office is unavailable for the public. Ninety per cent of the parking space is being used by the corporation staff,” said Venugopal.
MLCP projects at MCH, Putharikandam hang fire
The civic body has taken up as many as six multi-level parking projects under Smart City Thiruvananthapuram Ltd (SCTL) and AMRUT (Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation) scheme which are expected to resolve the parking crisis in the capital.
Apart from announcing plans, the civic body has failed to do much on the ground to execute these projects in a time-bound manner. It is learnt that the MLCPs planned by the civic body at Putharikandam and Medical College Hospital have been abandoned by the contractor. According to officials, the civic body is trying to revive both these projects.
“There has been a design conflict on both these projects. The contractor abandoned the projects owing to cost escalation. At Putharikandam, only piling work has been completed. We have decided to go for retendering. Both these projects have suffered cost escalation as we had to add more components including fire safety mechanisms. The civic body has decided to bear the additional expenses of the project. Around `3 crore would be allotted from the civic body’s own fund to ensure the completion of these projects,” said an official of the civic body.
The official said the MLCP at Thampanoor is nearing completion. “Around 60% of the project has been completed. The project is being implemented by SCTL. The facility can accommodate both two-wheelers and four-wheelers. The facility would be able to resolve the parking crisis at Thampanoor area to some extent,” said the official.
No action on illegal parking fee collection
The city corporation continues to neglect the mounting complaints regarding collection of huge parking fees at malls, hospitals and other commercial establishments. Apart from slapping a couple of notices, the civic body till date has taken no effort to put an end to illegal fee collection, in violation of the Kerala Municipal Act and Kerala Municipal Building Rules. Recently, the Kerala High Court had issued an order against the collection of parking fees by malls. As per the norms, it is illegal to collect fee for using the parking area allotted as per the building rules. A senior official of the civic body said the state government has to come up with a policy to put an end to parking fee collection. “We are waiting for the orders from the state government,” said the official.
Robotic parking system in the pipeline
The corporation has come up with a slew of projects and proposals to address the parking crisis. However, other than the parking facility on the corporation office premises, the civic body has failed to commission or execute any of the projects planned till date. In the current budget, it has allotted I1 crore for innovative robotic parking spaces in the capital. A senior official of the corporation’s engineering wing said this is the first time a local body is planning robotic parking systems in the city. “It incurs less operation and maintenance costs, compared to normal MLCPs.
It can be set up in smaller spaces and only one carrier would be operational compared to other multi-level facilities. The robot operated carrier can lift around 4,000 kg and a normal car weighs around 3,000 kg,” said the official. The operation and maintenance cost for one robotic parking system comes to around I3 lakh while the cost for conventional MLCP is nearly I8 lakh, official said. “It has fewer moving parts as compared to conventional MLCPs,” said the official. A similar robot-operated facility is now functional at the police godown, the official said. “We plan to set up at least one facility on an experimental basis. We will identify suitable locations soon,” official added.
Park without worry
1,800 Four-wheelers can be parked at the new facility
- 5 more floors will be added
- 4,000 vehicles can be parked after construction