The exponential rise in vehicles on Bengaluru’s streets has led to two-wheeler riders riding on footpaths and owners parking their vehicles on the roadside, reducing the carriage space and slowing down traffic. The police department before filing FIRs against footpath riders, as proposed recently, should clean up their act first by clearing seized and other vehicles parked right in front of police stations obstructing traffic. Also, it’s time that our clueless civic authorities should plan road construction better and provide enough space for pedestrians and for parking on city’s choked stretches.
It is an old problem that has worsened with time. As Bengaluru’s roads have got heavier with traffic each passing day, roadside parking too has become a bigger nuisance, forcing oncoming cars and two-wheelers to play a dodging game as they whiz past the stationary vehicles butting out in their way.
With hardly any parking lots or a parking policy to speak of, vehicles squeeze into whatever space that fits on the roads in the city, leaving it more chaotic than ever.
The problem is not confined to commercial areas but is common in the residential too. With the authorities turning a blind eye to increasing commercialisation of residential neighbourhoods, they are seeing a rise in traffic as well, destroying their quiet. As schools and shops proliferate in these localities, people arrive in cars or bikes and use the roads for parking in the absence of any other facility. In the process, the locals find they are unable to take out their own vehicles as sometimes the roadside parking is just outside their gates.
But people in apartments and houses too are sometimes to blame as they merrily park on the roadsides in the absence of parking facilities in their own grounds, although this is mandatory under the law.
Complains Ms Rupa Kumar, a resident of Maruthi Seva Nagar, “There was a time when there was little traffic on our street. But these days we have traffic all through the day as people tend to take short cuts through our area to avoid the congestion on the main roads. But local residents too often leave their vehicles on the roadsides. This has become a menace and only the civic and law enforcement agencies can put a stop to it.”
Ask a senior traffic police officer about roadside parking and he says the department does to try to implement alternate day parking on either side, but this works only when the traffic police is around. “In the absence of the police, people park wherever they like. In some places shopkeepers have removed boards mentioning the dates for parking on either side of the roads just to ensure that they do not lose out on business. We have already booked cases against those doing this,” he adds.
In his view, the city needs a strict parking policy, which should be enforced in co-ordination with various civic agencies. “Also, people should be responsible enough not to inconvenience others by haphazardly parking on the roadsides,” he stresses.
Despite the growing menace of roadside parking, the BBMP has made little headway with the promised parking policy for the city. Says a senior BBMP officer, “There was a plan to implement a parking policy, but it did not take off for reasons unknown. We want paid parking across the city with a hefty parking fee to discourage people from bringing out their vehicles and opt for public transport instead.”
As for roadside parking in residential areas, he admits that although this is an offence and invites a fine, the law is hardly ever enforced.
Only 2 multi-level parking facility in city
Although the city has lakhs of vehicles on it roads, it has few multi- level parking lots. Except for the two such facilities on J C Road and Kempegowda Road, it has none. While work is underway on construction of another multi- level parking lot at Freedom Park, which is almost complete and set for inauguration next year, the BBMP has no other similar project on hand.
A top BBMP official says the civic body did have plans to have multi- level parking lots at nearly 18 locations in the city like Commer cial Street, Dickenson Road, Magrath Road, Malleswaram, Russel Market, Double Road, and near the Hockey Stadium, but had to drop them in the face of opposition from the people and local leaders.
“The BBMP’s standing committee on town planning decided to drop many of the suggested locations for the multi-level parking lots in response to the opposition from the people and local leaders. But the Directorate of Urban Land Transport has suggested building a multi- level parking facility at Gandhi Bazaar. And talks are on to renovate the two multi- level parking facilities at J C Road and Kempegowda Road,” he says, revealing that work has almost been completed on the multi-level parking lot in Gandhinagar next to the former Central Prison. “If all goes well it may open by January,” he adds....