Parking woes have come to the forefront again in the city, this time around it’s the issue of action against motorists wrongly parking their vehicles. On Wednesday, the Karnataka Government announced that towing will be stopped until clear and simplified rules are put in place.
However, many have for long complained that the city does not have a robust parking policy, leading to chaos on the streets and leaving commuters prone to confrontation with enforcement authorities.
No earmarked slots
“There is no clear earmarking of parking slots on most roads in the city. This has impeded smooth traffic movement, altercations between commuters and the traffic police. The civic body must speed up introduction of smart parking systems at least in the Central Business District (CBD) area,” said a senior traffic police official.
For instance, a proposal was mooted in 2015 to provide smart paid parking facilities on 85 roads in the CBD. As on date, it has become a reality only on ten roads including M.G. Road, Brigade Road, Residency Road and other key roads in the vicinity. Paid parking was implemented on these roads in 2020.
“Smart Parking systems are imported and the pandemic disrupted the schedule. Moreover, on many roads Smart City works were underway. We are hoping to implement smart parking on 25 roads by March end and later expand to the remaining roads in the 85 roads package,” said B. S. Prahalad, Chief Engineer (Roads and Infrastructure), Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP). He also added that in the next package, BBMP was working with the Directorate of Urban Land Transport (DULT) to introduce paid parking on 260 roads.
DULT’s Draft Parking Policy, 2020, under which parking will be made paid across the City, is approved by the Urban Development Department. “We are working on drawing up zonal parking plans,” said V. Manjula, Commissioner, DULT.
Roads not for parking
However, traffic expert Prof. M. N. Sreehari said while it was true that steep parking fees would nudge people towards public transport, parking by the roadside was not the way ahead. “The city’s roads are already narrow for the vehicle volumes we have. Roads are meant for traffic and not parking. Provision of paid parking, even if the fees are steep, will only cause more trouble,” he said.
He also pointed out that most of the cellars in commercial complexes meant for parking have been occupied by businesses making parking a hassle in most of the markets and shopping hubs. “BBMP is turning a blind eye to building bylaw violators, and are probably hand in glove with them. Commuting through any shopping hub of the City is such a nightmare because the roads are mostly occupied by several rows of parked vehicles,” Prof. Sreehari said.
(This is the first in a series on the issue of parking in Bengaluru and the controversy around towing of vehicles.)