Roads in Lutyens’ Delhi have no uniformity of parking spaces
The wide tree-lined lanes of Rajpath hold the curious distinction of dividing the area's parking policy, with one side having organised parking lots and the other one without them.
For reasons best known to the New Delhi Municipal Council and the Traffic Police, roads that are identical in planning and width in this part of Lutyens’ Delhi have no uniformity when it comes to parking. For instance, Akbar Road and Ashoka Road are symmetrical in layout. But while the former has proper parking facilities, the latter is in a mess.
The contrast is most visible outside the party headquarters of the Congress and the BJP. While outside the AICC headquarters on Akbar Road, the area between the boundary walls of the bungalows and the roads is paved with perforated tiles and provides for easy parking of vehicles, the road outside the BJP headquarters on Ashok Road usually remains clogged with vehicles in the absence of a similar provision.
Parking spaces in and around Parliament Street are in a state of flux, following the NDMC’s decision to restrict parking. Wide pavements exist in front of offices in the area to make it easier for pedestrians to move. The space was designed for parking, but has now been made out-of-bounds for vehicles.
Even in places where parking is allowed, it is restricted to the particular office’s staff. “There is parking available for our staff and their visitors on the pavement. But other vehicles are not allowed here,” remarked the security guard at Akashwani Bhawan. He added that space for other vehicles was available at the Central Parking Service (a paid parking initiative) situated behind the office.
“With the decision to remove cars from the pavement, we are forced to park vehicles on the road itself. This not only affects traffic, but there is also a constant threat of vehicles being towed away,” said Ajay Sharma, who works in the area.
The scenario in front of the Press Trust of India building and Transport Bhawan is so chaotic that drivers and officer-goers in the region remain an agitated lot.
“It is not always possible to commute by metro. Thus, proper parking spaces have to be made available,” said Uday Vir, who works in the adjacent Reserve Bank of India. He also recalled how earlier a lot of vehicles could be easily parked in the space between the boundary wall of these buildings and the road. But now this space has been cordoned off for vehicles.
And there appears to be no logic behind the move, as just across the road, at All India Radio, vehicles can be seen parked between the road and the boundary wall of the building.
Deepak Kumar, who works at Shastri Bhawan, said the situation on Dr. Rajendra Prasad Road was equally chaotic. “There is hardly any space for us to park our vehicles, so space for other vehicles is completely out of question”. A visit to the site revealed that poor road infrastructure had forced vehicles to park on the road sides, which made pedestrians walk on the roads.
Though Shastri Bhawan boasts an extensive parking facility for its staff, the main road outside is congested with other vehicles. To make matters worse, the pavement is occupied by kiosks.
The Press Club of India, situated opposite Shastri Bhawan, also sees commotion. “Cars are not usually towed from here. The only restriction is that we can’t park our vehicles at the turn of the road. Otherwise, we are allowed to park here,” said Sanoj, who had parked his car in the “No Parking” zone near the club. Till some time ago, there was sufficient parking around the club, but much of it was taken away in the name of creating more green spaces.
The situation is identical on Rafi Marg. “Where are office-goers in the area supposed to park? The government officials and the rich have chauffeurs to drive them around or reserved parking. But what about ordinary motorists? More so, women workers in the area have to often park a long distance away and this hampers their security,” said Sunita Verma, a PR consultant.