Gated communities in Chennai think ‘out of the curb’ to check unauthorised parking

May 27, 2023 05:02 pm | Updated May 29, 2023 03:36 pm IST

Haphazard parking in gated communities is a stubborn issue, one requiring resident associations to fasten on their thinking and stay a step ahead of the violators.

Recently, Pravin Kumar noticed a visitor had taken his car parking slot. Ascertaining the whereabouts of the visitor registered through the MyGate app, Kumar had the vehicle moved to the space allotted for guest parking.

Secretary of VGN Brixton Owners Welfare Association, an 800-unit gated community in Irungattukottai, Kumar says the Association tried every trick in the book, including integrating technology, to effect better parking management.

The Association invested in an automatic boom barrier that scans vehicle stickers issued to residents before allowing them in. These vehicles are then parked at earmarked parking areas. But some residents continue to steer around this rule.

“We impose a fine of ₹200 on those who park at the wrong slot — the violator is given three chances before the Association starts imposing the fine on them,” says Kumar, adding a small percentage of residents have been made to pay the fine. The apartment has a dedicated space for visitors’ parking and and the host has to make sure the guests does not flout the rules.

“I am wondering if we should next invest in ‘No Parking’ boards such as the ones you see outside commercial establishments, to make it clear to residents that they cannot park anywhere according to their whims and facies,” says Kumar.

In most gated communities, the parking area near the lift is the one prone heavily to violations as it is a convenient space to park a vehicle. The boards would be planted in such places.

Wheel locks

The management committee at Kochar Panchsheel in Ambattur bought three wheel locks a few years ago to “disable” vehicles parked at unauthorised spots. The Association continues to use the wheel locks. The resident has to tender a written apology to have their vehicle unlocked.

House of Hiranandani Upscale on Rajiv Gandhi Salai has also invested in wheel locks but they are used as the last resort. Currently, the RFID technology scans the number plate of every vehicle at the gate before allowing them in. If the security personnel is not able to identify the vehicle owner who has parked at a wrong slot then wheel locks are used. Following an explanation, the vehicle is set free.

Raghavan Murti, a committee member at one of the towers at House of Hiranandani Upscale, notes that though there is no shortage of space in the community, these rules have been crafted and followed to the letter, to ensure parking discipline

He says before RFID technology was adopted by the Association, the problem was unmanageably large.

On a lighter note, Murti says the basement parking area at the gated community is like a huge football ground.

“Sometimes, even residents get lost searching for their parking lot,” he says.

Digital surveillance

At Sobha Meritta in Pudupakkam, CCTV cameras installed at the parking area ensure the parking violator is caught.

At Sidharth Upscale, a gated community in Porur with 388 flats, the management committee members note some discipline has set in after they invested in Park +, an app that assists parking management.

Once a fight over a parking area took an ugly turn necessitating a call to the local police station, says Vijay Kumar K, secretary, Sidharth Upscale Residents Welfare Association.

The security does not have to check vehicles entering the community as the RFID tag on the vehicle scans the details of the owner. “If the owner has parked at the wrong parking slot then the details of the flat are noted, but this only works if the resident has purchased the sticker so our big task is to make sure people buy the sticker and stick them,” says Vijay Kumar.

Amit Lakhotia, CEO and founder, Park+, says they work with more than 120 residential societies, malls and corporates in Chennai.

“Many residential societies lack smart parking management systems to optimally allocate parking to residents and non-residents and that is where we come in with our tech solutions,” says Lakhotia.

“FASTag enabled parking and smart access control systems are the future of parking systems in gated communities.”

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