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Friday , 21 January 2022

Choosing Off-street over On-street Parking

Parking Policies

Arvind Mayar spoke about how several city governments are framing parking policy and rules to reduce pressure and congestion on roads and public spaces to make cities more livable. Their challenge is to design parking rules that balance the need to provide parking with efforts to reduce the overall demand for parking.

Conventional parking policy aims to increase parking supply infinitely by earmarking public land for parking, constructing multi-level parking structures, and mandating all buildings to have a minimum number of parking slots. The underlying assumption is that the demand for parking will continue to grow with motorization, therefore, adequate parking spaces will have to be set aside to meet this growing demand. But this parking policy has failed to reduce parking pressure and the attendant problems of motorization, congestion and pollution. Decades of experience in India and across the world bear testimony to the fact that the demand for parking is insatiable. This results in land needed for other crucial uses being diverted to meet parking needs. Moreover, uncontrolled parking supply encourages more car ownership and driving.

Given the pressures that increasingly larger motor vehicles will exert on the crumbling road infrastructure, it is imperative for urban policy in India to be guided by an outcome-oriented principle that reduces incentives for car ownership  

Innovation in Mobile-based Payments and a Smart Contract

Nagendra Reddy V highlighted some highly significant steps underway in Bengaluru, which is now starting a citywide parking management system, covering around 12,000 parking slots.

Reddy spoke about Bengaluru’s plans to use mobile-phone based payments and skip parking meters completely. He also addressed about dealing with the problem of out-of-towners’ and others who cannot use a mobile phone for varied reasons (no phone, dead battery, etc) by planning simple alternatives, such as enlisting local shops as a place where one-off parking payments can be made.

Municipal Corporations should incentivize private developers and owners to acquire space for building underground and overground car parks

Another important innovation to watch in the country is the approach to the parking management contract.

Amit Haware, highlighted some of the recent parking policy developments at Delhi. It is important to change the parking needs and control usage of personal motor vehicles.

He further added, “In addition to this elite capture of our public spaces, our housing policies are further bankrolling car owners. Municipalities across the country mandate minimum parking to be built into buildings, including often for affordable housing where residents cannot even afford their own vehicle. But the cost of building this additional parking only drives up house prices further, making housing less affordable for everyone in the city. Many Indian cities require developers to build a car park for each apartment, regardless of whether the occupant can afford a car, or if the building is situated near a mass transit system.”.

On-street parking should be more expensive than off-street parking. This is necessary to deter and discourage on-street parking

The national building code 2016 also recommends two parking spaces per 100sqmt of residential group and cluster housing constructed across the country. Through such rules, municipalities are essentially pricing out families relying on public transport from cities. Even investments in public transportation cannot fully undo the negative effects of these rules. A study from 2012 found that mandatory parking minimums in New York city induced residents to drive more in private cars, even for trips to areas well served by public transport.

The National Urban Transport Policy (NUTP) of 2006 similarly argued for taking into consideration the externalities accompanying parking laws. By proposing a fee-based model of parking, the NUTP sought to encourage a move away from the traditional free-parking incentives showered upon car owners in Indian cities. In order to make owners internalize the costs of driving private vehicles, it is incumbent upon Indian cities to charge at least the basic market price for the real estate and operational costs of their parking spots to the owners. This requires more effective enforcement of parking rules by cities in addition to more transparent and effective collection mechanisms for parking fees.

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