Monday , 24 June 2019

India is learning to Park

“We cannot immediately do away with parking, because there are already a lot of people who have bought and are using cars; what we can do is kind of restrict them, “ said Vivek Pai.

Most cities have Development Control Regulations which specify how much parking should be provided, proportional to the area being developed. For example, if the area of a flat is less than 35 square metres, no parking needs be provided. But in buildings where a flat ranges between 350-550 square feet (a typical 1 BHK), one space must be provided for every two flats. For every 2 BHK (550-750 square feet), a space become mandatory. A 3 BHK (more than 800 square feet) compulsorily needs two parking spaces. Similarly, in commercial buildings, one needs to provide one parking slot per 37.5 square metre, upto 1500 square metres.

An earlier version of Mumbai’s Development Plan allowed a trade-off between residential/commercial space and parking area. “So if you don’t want a car park, you can always use the space for something else. Unfortunately, this was scrapped.”

Parking supply caps in Indian cities will allow developers to use same space for other uses especially habitable rooms. From ‘parking’ to ‘park’ (open spaces) is the way to go!.
– Vivek Pai

How is a parking lot designed? Pai explained that “Conventionally, physical measurements are taken at the site to understand whether a car can fit there or not, how much width can be provided. Nowadays, we use AutoCAD software to optimise the space by creating 3D models instead of 2D models. A parking layout can be auto-generated by a computer.”

Coming to public parking – Mumbai has close to 150 municipal pay-and-park car parks. However, they are not being put to good use because they require parking appurtenances, day numbering, and spring posts. Basic safety measures are missing.

According to Pai, traditional ground/podium/basement parking is now making way for a multilevel stack parking tower with CCTV-based parking sensors that employs technology like RFID sensors, vehicle recognition and machine learning. He concluded by saying that  ” parking may be a necessary or unnecessary evil, but it also a way to earn a huge amount of revenue. Most Indian cities are not really optimising this revenue.”

Ashok Datar added, “Parking is a serious subject that has not been taken seriously at all so far. Our attitude towards parking is lackadaisical or completely anarchic; with the number of vehicles growing, we can no longer afford to be like that.”

All forms of transport require three things: vehicles, fuel and the most important thing – space. “When we buy flats or commercial spaces, we take into account the cost of land, but when we drive or park, we seem to forget that the land this requires costs money too”. To measure how the amount of land that parking requires at the city level has increased over the last twenty years, MESN converted the entire area occupied by roads, and by registered vehicles, into square metres. It found that the area occupied by private cars has gone up from 58% to 77%, while that occupied by taxis reduced from 16% to 12%. Commercial vehicles – which many people find obstructive – lost from 18% to 7%. The biggest loser is buses, which fell from 6% to just 2%.

The number of people transported by a single car per day is also reduced. So is occupancy of the average BEST bus – from 400 to 283 people per trip. “What it means”, Datar said “is that in Mumbai, roughly 30 % of road space is occupied by cars, which is completely unpaid for.”

“Roads are full of parking space”, he continued, “but it is like what you call the wallpaper effect: we see it, yet we don’t see it. Even the municipality has never found the time to do a traffic count or parking surveys”.

Parking is a cancer feeding to cities and solutions that we are thinking are like aspirin instead of chemotherapy. You don’t give free space for slums, you don’t give free space for housing then why should you give free space for cars.
– Ashok Datar




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