Lack of adequate parking space takes a toll on traffic flow

Poor infrastructure, improper enforcement of regulations and narrow streets pose a challenge to motorists

The year-on-year increase in the number of vehicles, coupled with inadequate parking infrastructure, has made motoring in the city a nightmarish experience.

The White Town, the nerve centre of Puducherry, which connects to some of the important thoroughfares including Anna Salai, Bussy Street, Mahatma Gandhi Road and Jawaharlal Nehru Street remains clogged with parked vehicles most of the day, throwing traffic out of gear.

Lack of parking lots is cited as the main reason for this issue. The arterial roads such as Anna Salai and Kamaraj Salai, which house several major multi-brand retail outlets, do not have adequate parking lots. Consequently, most of it is occupied by parked vehicles, making traffic snarls the order of the day.

Though the Department of Town and Country Planning rules mandate parking facilities in commercial complexes, it seems to have been given a miss by many multi-storey buildings.

Parking on both sides of Bussy Street is prohibited, yet vehicles queue up along its path. Big name retailers have set up shop in Puducherry over the years but without adequate parking space.

A few major outlets have converted vacant plots into parking lots, earning money from it. This is only permissible if the parking area is within 150 to 200 feet of the buildings, an official said.

According to a top Government official, “As per Puducherry Planning Authority (PPA) norms, commercial buildings have to provide 30 sq.m of parking area for every 70 sq.m of floor area. A few buildings have double basements for parking facilities and the PPA has been insisting building owners to ensure off-street parking facilities.”

Pedestrian-safe streets

According to Sunaina Mandeen of PondyCan, “The first priority is to make the streets safe for pedestrians. For that all sidewalks in Puducherry must be cleared of encroachments so that people can walk on them thus automatically freeing up space for moving traffic. Next, the roads need to be cleared of debris for parking of two-wheelers. Most streets are narrow due to wrong planning and execution, making the sides and drains very dangerous for parking and driving.”

The authorities should also look at parking discipline. For instance, by looking at different areas such as the Boulevard and other thoroughfares, planners have to take a call on which streets need to be made one-way for all traffic and not just for four-wheelers as is being done presently which has not been effective, she added.

Retailer responsiblity

Ms. Mandeen also pointed out that buildings coming up on commercial spaces must provide parking compulsorily, unless they are located in a vehicle-free zone. Paid public parking could also be introduced as in cities across the country, she said.

In order to ease traffic flow, the police decided to implement one-side parking on the north side from Chinna Subburaya Pillai Street till Ambour Salai junction.

The south side of Bussy Street was made a no-parking zone. However, within minutes of the police leaving the area, vehicles continued to be parked on the prohibited stretch.

Entry of heavy vehicles during peak hours has also affected the smooth movement of traffic.

The movement of heavy vehicles is restricted within the city limits from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m., and from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Even as specific timings have been announced people fail to follow them, a police official said.

‘Strict rules needed’

According to Ashok Panda, co-convenor of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage, “Parking and traffic management have to go hand in hand. Heritage cities and old towns in the European Union have strict regulations prohibiting the entry of heavy vehicles while the streets are completely pedestrianised. Some drastic measures have to be taken and the authorities should look at providing alternate parking space for a large number of two-wheelers and cars.”

“No vehicles are allowed on Dumas Street during the evenings and this plan could be implemented in other areas also. Separate parking spaces have to be created for vehicles, especially two-wheelers and cars in the Old Port area and near the Distillery. This would ease traffic congestion up to an extent,” he said.

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Printable version | Feb 19, 2020 7:37:27 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/lack-of-adequate-parking-space-takes-a-toll-on-traffic-flow/article27131446.ece

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