Wednesday , 20 March 2019

India is learning to Park

Speaking of his experience in another metropolitan city, Chennai, Raj Cherubal, said, “One of the first things we had to prove was that there was actually parking available. We went around marking spaces for parking with simple yellow lines; what was amazing is that even autorickshaws, which everybody thinks will misbehave, started parking properly, simply because we put a yellow line. Everyone gets told they’re parking wrongly by cops, but few authorities have bothered to actually go mark an area and say, ‘this is where you can park, this is where you cannot park’”.

Chennai will be implementing the largest on-street parking management system in the world. A camera-based slot-recognition system will be able to inform people which slots are full, and where the nearest empty slot is. The same vendor will also have the right to clamp a car parked in the wrong place.

“Our first challenge was to show the public that parking management is actually good for everybody”, said Cherubal. “For example, people park in front of shops and disappear for long hours. Prospective customers of the shops arrive in cars, see that there is no parking near the shop, and leave. Shops lose business.” Parking management will ensure that the areas outside shops are parking-free.

In the intelligent parking management system, one will be able to determine the number plate of a car as well. Hence, over time, the system will able to inform the driver that he is burning an ‘X’ amount of carbon and spending ‘Y’ amount of money for his daily commute. It will be able to suggest to him that taking a bus for the same journey will save him ‘Z’ rupees every day, and also offer a discount on the bus pass.

“Parking is like a commodity”, Cherubal concluded. “If you price it too low, you will run out of parking.”

The parking management is extremely important and for which there has to bundling of on-street and off-street parking where a single authority can implement parking management.
– Vickram B Pillai

Talking about the impact of the changing parking norms, Vickram B Pillai stated that as land becomes increasingly scarce in the city, developers find it more and more challenging to provide space for parking according to regulations. Getting approval for a project consequently becomes very difficult. “As the number of flats in a building increases, the parking requirement also increases, for which vertical growth in the form of multilevel mechanical car parking or podium/basement/multifloor parking is the only solution. Earlier, we used to sell parking spaces, now we have to provide it for free. So the cost of construction for a developer increases.”

He mentioned that in some cases though, builders have been able to take advantage of a rule that allows them to use extra FSI in exchange for using some of their space for public car parking. Pillai said that Mumbai’s municipal corporation has announced the constitution of a new Parking Authority which will plan, regulate and manage all parking at the street level, as well as private parking within buildings under the physical jurisdiction of the municipal corporation.

Regarding the allocation for bus parking in Mumbai’s Development Plan, Datar said that earlier, public buses were never parked on road. But with bus depot space now being commercially sold off by the transport authority, there will be lesser space to house buses. Agreeing with the point about parking spaces in residential buildings being provided free of cost, he pointed out that the cost of the land on which a car parks is several times the cost of the car itself. He said that while the cost of constructing a parking space is not much, commercial rates for the land used should be charged to the owner of the car.

Chennai’s parking management system was launched in a full-fledged manner instead of first doing a pilot project. This approach was to get things at least 80% right and forge ahead. “At some point, you have to act, you can’t just keep talking and talking”, said Cherubal. Often it I stated that money generated from parking enforcement should be injected back into local infrastructure to motivate the community to accept the system. “ Eventually, the public should be able to know that a certain public convenience or structure was paid for exclusively by collecting parking charges.”

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