Motorists in the city seem clueless about where to park their vehicles, since the city does not have proper parking norms and designated parking areas. Many of them wantonly park their vehicles on the roads.
Uncontrolled parking often results in four-lane stretches in the city like the SA Road, MG Road, Kaloor-Kadavanthra Road and portions of the Banerjee Road being reduced to two-lane ones.
Joseph John, gastroenterologist at the PVS Memorial Hospital, Kaloor, said that it was high time that government agencies regulated parking.
“They should clamp down on illegal parking with a heavy hand. This apart, pay-and-park centres should be opened at entry points to the city so that private vehicles can be parked there. More passenger-friendly public transport vehicles like low-floor buses should be operated so that they can ferry people into the city,” said Dr John.
Norms for parking
Most metropolitan cities in the country have strict norms for parking, with mobile patrol units regularly towing away illegally-parked vehicles, including two-wheelers. In Kochi, cars and lorries are parked even on highways, where parking is banned, and narrow roads. The service roads of the NH and NH bypass have become parking zones, due to inadequate no-parking boards and slack enforcement of rules.
While admitting that haphazard parking was compounding traffic problems in the city, Assistant Commissioner of Police (City Traffic) Mohammed Rafiq said that parking regulations were in the pipeline since the situation was going from bad to worse.
“Prior to Onam, the police will begin to paste stickers (penalty slips) on vehicles that block free flow of traffic. Some cars suffer damage when towed away using recovery vans and hence they are scarcely used. Kochi motorists lack the ‘road sense' that people of Bangalore and Chennai have,” he said.
Though cellar-parking lots in multi-storied buildings is an ideal alternative to road-side parking, the Corporation does not enforce the rule that makes cellar parking mandatory for high rises.
Mayor Tony Chammany said that the police should strictly clamp down on illegal parking. “Opening more pay-and-park centres in the numerous vacant plots on road sides and behind shops is among the options to reduce problems created by parking,” he said.
Ernakulam RTO T.J. Thomas said that parking regulations would be introduced in half a dozen main roads within a week, following a decision taken by the Regional Transport Authority. The PWD will have to erect no-parking boards on the stretches.