With vehicular parking becoming an issue in most Indian cities, the need of the hour is to have a well-defined parking policy, increasing parking charges, providing better public transport options and balance on-street and off-street parking.

These were among the suggestions made by experts at a conference on “Parking reforms for a liveable city” organised by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) here on Wednesday. Participants unanimously agreed that parking problem exists in all parts of the country and most parking space was occupied by privately owned vehicles.

Speaking about “Parking policy: How it works as car restraint?”, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (Singapore) assistant professor Paul Barter said India should not follow American or Australasian suburban parking models but those taken from cities like Tokyo and Taipei. He stressed the importance of involving local stakeholders in formulating a parking policy and the importance of “park once neighbourhoods”.

Delhi Chief Secretary P. K. Tripathi pointed out that formulation of a policy needs to be coupled with strict enforcement in order to be effective. “To discourage private vehicles, we need good public transportation. Even though Delhi Metro is an effective means to travel and DTC [Delhi Transport Corporation] is trying to provide better transportation, last mile connectivity is still a problem,” said Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Satyendra Garg.

Unified Traffic and Transportation Infrastructure (Planning & Engineering) Centre Director Ashok Bhattacharjee said discussions on parking spaces should consider public transport vehicles like auto rickshaws, since most legal parking spaces provided only for privately owned vehicles. Based on the findings of a survey conducted by her students, Indian Institute of Technology professor Geetam Tiwari said: “Location has a huge impact on modal choices. If the car is parked close to your house, there will be no question of using public transport.” She further suggested having parking spaces situated at least 500 meters away and charging higher rates of parking from residents.