Vijayawada

Guntur’s unbridled growth leaves little space for parking

The GMC and police are trying their best on a largely uncooperative citizenry. What’s the way out?

Chaotic. That’s what describes the mobility, or sometimes lack of it in Guntur. Following it is parking which remains the most vexing issue in the city. The existing infrastructure is just not enough to bear with the sheer number of vehicles crisscrossing the city. Post bifurcation of the State, the city’s topography and skyline has undergone a sea change. In the absence of any traffic management plan by the civic body, infrastructure designed and laid for a different time and traffic density is crumbling, leaving the residents at their wits’ end.

Over the years, the city grew at a fast pace mostly westwards. For long, Lalapet and Market Centre used to be traditional commercial and trading hubs. Gradually, areas in Two Town, Brodiepet, Arundelpet, Lakshmipuram, Chandramouli Nagar, Brundavan Gardens, and Pattabhipuram emerged as busy commercial areas. Post bifurcation, much of the development spread to Amaravathi Road.

"Areas in Brodiepet used to be residential hubs in the past but the residences have now given away to commercial shopping complexes. The GMC has to make sure that they have cellar parking facilities," says LSN Prasad, retired professor of Economics a resident of Brodiepet

Left, right, centre

The maze of commercial complexes on the narrow lanes of Brodipet and Arundelpet is a picture of compounded chaos. This has left the civic and the police departments clueless in finding a solution. To be fair, police had tried to regulate parking on the busy 4th lane of Brodipet by having staggered parking slots on alternative days. That means, vehicles could be parked on right side on alternative days beginning Monday, while other side parking was available on remaining days. This was not a solution to the problem, but at least it was meant to regulate traffic.

In the One Town area too, particularly in the main market, parking remains a bottleneck. With most of the road space occupied by hawkers, commuters are forced to park the vehicles on the road median, often at the mercy of traffic police, who cart away two wheelers at the slightest provocation.

Cellar parking or

warehouses?

The civic authorities, on the other hand, found that their ham-handed approach in dealing with the cellar parking idea didn’t yield any worthwhile result. All the major hotels, departmental stores, furniture and jewellery shops on Arundelpet and Brodipet quietly discourage their customers or visitors from parking their vehicles in the cellar.

"The Guntur Traffic Police is enforcing strict cellar parking facilities in commercials areas. We are Alos identifying parking bays in consultation with the Guntur police," said DSP (Traffic) K. Supraja.

But commuters and visitors themselves are not inclined to use the cellar parking facility due to the steep gradient. In most of the shops, the parking lot doubles up as a store room. The GMC Town Planning Department gets the flak in not implementing the cellar parking rule. The Special Drive for demolishing cellar constructions by it seems to be not yielding results even in residential complexes.

Stonewalling citizens

None of the hospitals on the old Club Road have parking facility. They also stonewalled a move to have marked parking lots on the main roads, as per suggestions from Craphts Consultants. With the lack of municipal paid parking lots, the civic authorities are grappling with the problem.

"We will shortly earmark parking lots and collect parking fees. We will identify parking lots in busy commercial area and create zones for two wheelers and four wheelers. We will begin by leveling the area besides the GMC office and construct even toilets for general public," said Municipal Commissioner Shrikesh B. Lathkar. Promises they are. But realistically fulfillable?

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Printable version | Jun 6, 2020 5:39:12 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Vijayawada/gunturs-unbridled-growth-leaves-little-space-for-parking/article29395008.ece

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