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  Parking policy stuck in jam

Parking policy stuck in jam

Published : Apr 20, 2016, 5:38 pm IST
Updated : Apr 20, 2016, 5:38 pm IST

Minister is yet to conduct a hearing of groups who would be affected by implementation of the policy.

Minister is yet to conduct a hearing of groups who would be affected by implementation of the policy.

The much-touted parking policy that is aimed at decongesting roads, especially in metropolitan cities such as Mumbai remains on the backburner as minister of state for urban development Dr Ranjit Patil is yet to conduct a hearing of various stake holders who would be affected by the implementation of the policy. According to officials from the urban development department and the BMC, though they have submitted reports sought from their offices there is 'status quo' on the issue.

The problem In a city like Mumbai which has around 22 lakh registered vehicles and a floating vehicular population of nearly 2.5 lakh, some areas see traffic snarls due to the unavailability of proper and designated parking zones. According to state records, Mumbai has around 92 pay and park facilities that can accommodate around 12,800 vehicles. With space available for parking of only 8,700 four wheelers, 3,850 two wheelers and 180 tempos and lorries the remaining vehicles end up getting parked on street sides. On a lot of streets, there are vehicles parked on both sides, or parked perpendicular to the road. As a result, two lanes get blocked.

While activists claim that street-side parking leads to congestion of roads, BMC officials say there is no rule or law that says street parking is illegal except on kerbs and intersections. “There is no rule that puts restrictions on street-side parking except where it is said so through ‘No Parking’ boards or boards indicating reservations. However the BMC’s pay and park policy aimed to address the issue to some extent,” said SVR Srinivas, additional municipal commissioner, BMC. The state has tried to introduce various schemes under the policy like the pay and park rule, additional FSI to developers who construct and hand over parking lots to the BMC, and underground parking schemes, but all these schemes have been held up for one reason or another.

Apart from this a Bombay high court decision asking the state to deter parking under flyovers as it poses a threat has further aggravated the problem of parking spaces in the city.

Schemes The state announced that the BMC would be allowed to construct underground parking lots below playgrounds and in high-density areas by making amendments in the development control regulations. However BMC officials say that this is yet to be finalised. When asked about the same, Dr Nitin Kareer, principal secretary, UDD-I said, “The issue is pending with the minister and it would not be right for me to comment.”

Secondly, as per a new regulation in the parking policy, the state offered additional FSI to developers if they agreed to build parking lots free of cost and hand them over to the BMC. However, despite the state sanctioning 61 projects that would provide 46,366 parking spaces only 13 projects with 6,872 parking spaces have been completed. Out of this only six lots with a parking capacity of 3,081 have been handed over to the BMC.

Earlier in the year, the BMC tried to introduce a pay and park scheme wherein residents would be charged for night parking. However, opposition from residents resulted in the state having to intervene and ask the BMC to keep the policy on hold. “There is a status quo on the issue of parking policy. The BMC has submitted its reports to the UDD after conducting hearings of the people affected by the pay and park policy,” said Mr Srinivas

Recently, the state also announced the one car per one household rule but that again is yet to see the light of the day. “Though the minister has announced other initiatives to solve the parking problem, the BMC is yet to receive official communication of the same,” added Mr Srinivas.

Street-side parking According to officials, street-side parking in Mumbai is allowed on all roads except areas reserved for taxi, autorickshaw, tempo and lorry parking. Parking is also not permitted within 15 meters of bus stops on either side.

Vehicles parked on street sides need to be parked at a distance of 15 meters from an intersection. Vehicle parking on stretches designated as ‘No Parking’ zones can result in vehicles being towed away by the Mumbai traffic police.

Study by NGO In Mumbai, public transit ridership is very high (up to 52 per cent commuters are train users and 26 percent are bus users), while car users are a small fraction (up to 6 per cent), considering all motorised trips. Car ownership in Mumbai is fairly low (32 cars per 1,000 persons) as compared to other Asian cities with similar densities; however, parking provision is high (2.17 parking spaces per 100 cars) if street-side parking is included.

Parking policy proposed by state State minister for urban development Dr Ranjit Patil, proposed the introduction of a new parking policy in the legislature recently. According to the new policy, residents will be allowed to park their vehicle on the road at night outside their buildings if there is no parking space available for them. The parking is proposed to be allowed only between 8 pm and 8 am. The civic body will charge residents monthly charges that will be one third of the regular rates recovered for parking at pay-and-park lots for 30 days, which comes to `1,800 a month.

With people reluctant to pay for parking, and vehicle populations increasing, both policies and cars are heading for jams in days ahead.