Rank ignorance? Or deliberate? In residential areas - barring tony Sadashivnagar and Dollars Colony - cars are parked randomly on both sides of the road, often on the pavement, as are motorbikes, food cart vendors and auto rickshaws, making the narrow roads impossible to navigate. Whatever happened to alternate day parking, and not blocking entry and exit points on roads by NOT parking on the corners where small roads connect with main roads? When will civic agencies, transport department and traffic police understand the travails that face the motorist, reports Nikhil Gangadhar
t’s an experience that most drivers in the city have had at one time or another: driving around in circles to find a suitable parking space. With nearly every available inch of space on Bengaluru’s roads occupied by parked cars, it’s hard to tell what exactly is the city’s parking policy or if it even has one.
The BBMP has always had good intentions, at least on paper. Not too long ago it talked of levying a fee for on-street parking in residential areas in consultation with resident welfare associations, but that too has come a cropper with four wheelers and two-wheelers today often found parked in front of houses, not just getting in the way of their occupants, but also in the way of traffic that has to negotiate past them on narrow roads. And the traffic police doesn’t seem to care.
Mr Subhash Rao, a road engineer, blames poor planning by the government and increase in the city’s vehicular population for the mess. “We cannot blame only the poor infrastructure for the frequent traffic jams in the city. The government needs to put a cap on registration of private vehicles and cabs. A family of four owns two cars and two bikes, which is not necessary. Also numerous cabs are being registered every day. Unless this is curbed, there will be traffic congestion 24 hours in the city,” he warns.
Strongly supporting the idea of imposing a heavy parking fee on vehicles in residential areas to discourage them from using their lanes, he complains, “We see people parking their cars in front of houses on roads that are not even 40 feet wide. This eats into the carriage way, making it difficult for vehicles to pass through. The residents also park on street corners, creating blind spots for moving vehicles and causing accidents. But the civic agencies turn a blind eye to this huge menace.”
Another city resident, Ganesh Chakrapani, says he has written several times to the transport department asking to ban the parking of vehicles in front of houses and buildings in residential areas, but received no reply. “I have been writing to the transport department to bring in a rule to monitor roadside parking across the city and especially in the residential areas, but in vain. The civic agencies, transport department and traffic police need to come together and introduce strict policies to ensure that roadside parking is not allowed. Several buildings have parking space, but ask visitors to park outside, which is not fair,” he protests.
Ask a BBMP officer about the city's parking policy, and he says the agency is still working on it.
“We intend to bring in a separate policy for parking in residential areas, which will involve imposing a huge fee. There are various agencies involved and an elaborate study is being carried out. It will take at least a few more months to prepare the final draft,” he adds.
‘Civic agencies must shoulder the blame’
Although people look to the traffic police to curb haphazard roadside parking, its officers claim they cannot alone be expected to tackle the problem as it requires a collective effort of several departments. A senior traffic police officer blames the rise in the city’s vehicular population for the haphazard parking in the city.
“The transport department needs to look into this. The city needs a policy to ensure there is more disciplined parking. Once the parking issue is set right then everything else will fall into place gradually,” he argues, adding, “Earlier we used to receive complaints about vehicles parking as they please on busy and main roads. But these days we have been receiving numerous complaints about such parking in residential areas too. Every day the traffic control room receives around 40 to 50 calls complaining about parking issues in residential areas.”
In his view the civic agencies need to shoulder the blame as they have allowed construction of houses and buildings without parking facilities. “They claim to have permitted construction based on building plans showing provision for four- wheeler and two-wheeler parking, but the owners later do as they please during construction,” he notes.
The officer, however, feels that unless Bengalureans themselves become more responsible it will be impossible to deal effectively with the parking mess in the city, especially in its residential areas. “When the roads are already narrow, drivers should understand that by parking on them haphazardly, they are creating a nuisance both for the residents and the oncoming traffic. But in our city, we do nothing but blame the traffic police,” he regrets.
Another traffic police officer says its high time the BBMP got serious about implementing a strict parking policy. “If it lets things continue the way they are, there will be utter chaos in the future,” he warns....