Friday , 19 July 2019

In Search of Solutions

Anant Kumar

There are two different problems in Sarojani Nagar and Baba Kharak Singh Marg. In the latter, the floor is not very high but still persons are not using the car park. There is a Hanuman Mandir nearby and there is on-road parking all around in that area in spite of the Delhi Traffic Police having notified the area as no-parking zone. Every time we try to stop the surface parking it is not been allowed because of various reasons, one of them being that Delhi has been in election mode for the last 2-3 years. Similarly, near the Delhi High Court, there is a multi-level car parking built by the DMRC, but it too does not have much occupancy because of the high retrieving time at these lots. The lawyers cannot afford this because most of them practice in different courts and they have to move quickly between courts to another.

Another aspect is the mindset of the drivers and car owners. A mall may charge Rs 20-30 for a parking space but guests will mostly park on the surface or on the street to avoid this charge, even though they may end up paying hundreds of rupees at the restaurant. Parking rates in India are the cheapest in the world and the areas under NDMC are prime areas. But there is a lot of surface parking in spite of our best efforts, the reasons for which could include weak enforcement and the mindset of the people.

Satyanarayanan

You are absolutely right. Traditionally, in India, we are used to going as close to the place of work as possible. But if we look at some of the big cities in the world, in almost all of them, there is a tremendous amount of walking that people do because parking lots are not so near commercial or retail facilities. in Paris there is much parking done below the Champs Ëlysëes from where people walk. That is the culture that has to be built because parking is a habit that you develop over a period of time. Discipline and enforcement play a very important roles too.

Marc Chia

One very good example of a green city in a developing country is the city of Makati in Manila in Philippines. The Philippine government is really trying to make it a smart and green city, so there are no plastic bags in the whole city or paper bags. They have also realized that about 30% of the moving traffic in the Central Business District of Makati is actually looking out for parking spaces. The vehicles of course also cause pollution and a lot of other negative effects. They have a unique concept in the city in that most of the off-street parking tariffs are higher than on-street parking tariffs. Everyone who goes to Makati gets a chance to park on the street. But this is limited to a certain amount of time such as 3-4 hours. There are ground sensors for on-street parking, so most of the on street parking spaces in the city are monitored. Since all spaces are on a three hour cycle, no one can park more than three hours. They can get around this limitation by changing the parking space, but at least they have to undergo that inconvenience which makes it harder to park for longer times.

Two wheeler parking is harder to govern. It is always hard to get them to park in a specific parking space and normally there is not much demarcation of real spaces for two wheelers. It is easy to manage two wheelers for off street parking where you can manage them in a much more controlled.

– Mark Chia

The sensors improve the efficiency of the person who collects the tariff because if a single person is in charge of ten to twelve spaces he might miss out 2-3 cars coming in but not with the sensors. Once the space has been occupied, the sensors trigger a PDA or collection unit which says that collection has to be done at such and such parking space. The information is also transmitted to street signs to show how many spaces are there on a certain street. It is also sent to apps on smart phones to further make drivers aware of the spaces. But all this it does not mean that everyone has to park on on-street. Off-street and on-street information has to be combined to really form a smart city.

The other country that we are working which has a really large number of two wheelers is Vietnam. Of course two.

Is it possible to have some kind of parking policy for residential areas? Like, how many cars a single household or flat can own?

It is very difficult for any government agency to fix the number of cars per household. But the initiative which has been taken is that every new housing project that is constructed has to build a stilt floor for the residents so that the car which are normally parked outside on the road can be parked inside the building and there will be more space on the road for vehicles to move. Even a 200sq yard plot can fit in about four to five cars inside. However it is difficult to control the car population.