The land uses adjoining the roads and traffic flow determine the parking demand for the study road and a high level of commercial activities understandably warrant heavy parking. In the study road and the adjoining areas, the predominant land use in the influence area of project road was found to be office and commercial buildings. They accounted for more than 60% of the total floor area. At all the road stretches forming parts of the MG road, the traffic flow was found to be far higher than their design capacity during peak hours. These two factors indicated heavy parking demand on MG road.
Parking supply has two components – one is the off street supply which is provided within various buildings in accordance with the Building Rule of respective urban bodies. The second is roadside parking, earmarked by local urban bodies depending on the availability of road space. An assessment of the parking supply availability in the study road indicates that a total of around 3,400 ECS off-street parking spaces were available under various land uses on the influence area of M.G road. Only 69 ECS of authorized on-street parking space was available for various types of vehicles in the project influence area.
As per the Kerala Municipal Building Rules (1999), the parking requirements along MG road for normal day activities were estimated at 6,681 ECS. This is against the available provision of 3,400 ECS which indicates that only 50% of the required parking spaces are provided.
Parking demand is generated from high level of commercial activities and public offices located in the study road. It was found that the peak on-street and off – street parking accumulation was estimated to be 1,804 ECS and 3,976 ECS within the influence area of MG road. Among the vehicles parked in the various sections of the road, 67% of them were two wheelers followed by 24% cars. Regarding the duration of vehicles parked, 68% of the vehicles were parked for time duration of less than one hour, followed by 17% vehicles for duration of 60 to 120 minutes.
A comparison of parking demand and supply indicates that there exists substantial parking deficiency in the study area which works out to 2,536 ECS in the base year.
In order to meet the parking deficiency, parking improvement schemes for MG road were proposed in accordance with the latest norms and policies stipulated in Municipal Building rules, and specified by IRC and MoUD. As a short-term solution to the parking problems on the MG road, on-street parking along the road was considered with progressive parking fee – proposed to be raised in geometric progression with each parking hour. Parking on the link roads leading to MG road were also considered based on the availability of road width and traffic. On-street parking supply of more than 1,000 ECS could be made available by legalizing restricted duration for on-street parking at selected locations on MG road and on approach roads leading to M.G road. It was suggested to discourage on-street parking of vehicles as far as possible as it consumes valuable urban space, especially in the land-scarce state of Kerala.
Parking supply could be increased through development of off-street lots also. These can be later considered for development of integrated parking facilities for mass transit stations along M.G road. In addition to the four locations already identified by Thiruvananthapuram Corporation/ TRIDA, additional 65 sites have been identified by NATPAC for proposing off-street parking facilities measuring a gross plot area of about 98,000 sq m. Parking supply equivalent to around 2,000 ECS could be provided by developing off-street surface parking lots at the public and private sites identified along the MG road. The feasible off-street surface parking facilities identified can be gradually converted to multi-storied car parking systems considering the parking demand and availability of land. Off-street multi level car parking is proposed at three locations measuring total plot area of around 9,500m2 along M.G Road. By providing multi level parking facilities, the parking supply could be increased by 1815 ECS. A total supply of about 400 ECS of parking space in an approximate area of 2,700m2 could be provided by the development of automated parking lots at the identified sites.
By developing off-street surface parking, multi-level parking and automated parking systems accompanied with parking controls, the on-street parking on MG Road can be completely eliminated.
Apart from development of on-street and off-street parking, parking supply could be increased through the sharing of parking facilities available at the off-street locations of both public and private buildings. This would help in the productive use of available off-street parking areas, which are under-utilized. A supply of about 2100 ECS of parking space in an approximate area of 43,700sqm could be utilized through shared parking facilities at the identified sites. The locations for development of peripheral parking schemes on the outskirts of the city along major travel corridors leading to the city centre were identified and the likely demand was estimated.
By developing off-street surface parking, multi level parking and automated parking systems accompanied with parking controls, the on-street parking on MG Road can be completely eliminated. Even the enhanced parking supply through the provision of off-street parking system will not be sufficient to meet the growing parking demand. Hence, additional measures need to be implemented to control car growth and usage, thereby reducing the parking demand. The improvement in the public transport system, non-motorized transport system and development of peripheral parking schemes were expected to further reduce the parking demand along the MG road. The dispersing of activity centers away from the central area of the Thiruvananthapuram city will result in reduction in traffic and parking demand along MG road. Adequate parking facilities shall be provided for bicycles and for persons with disabilities. ITS parking systems ensure better utility of parking space and collection of revenue. Strict enforcement and regulation accompanied with parking facilities, parking information systems, road markings and signs will be effective in addressing the on-street parking problems in the city.
A parking policy was formulated benefiting the transport network of a city in a number of ways. Parking management strategy refers to the usage of existing parking facilities more efficiently, reducing parking demand, increasing parking supply and addressing variable parking demand along with management and design decisions. Various parking management strategies proposed to reduce parking problems along the MG road in Thiruvananthapuram city include:
- Paid parking in the city may be implemented and in order to cater to the demand, differential parking rates for the CBD have been adopted. Pricing for on-street parking should be time based parking fees, favouring short duration parking than long duration parking. It is suggested to levy higher parking fees than normal for long duration on-street parking of vehicles and also for peak hours. Off-street parking should be priced in such a way so as to favour long term parkers, especially the daily commuters.
- Promotion of public transport and non motorized transport will significantly reduce the parking demand on the M.G. Road in Thiruvananthapuram city
- Integrate parking with public transit terminals by way of park and ride structures to ensure accessibility to parking facilities from bus stops/ MRT stops, and IPT modes (Three and Four wheeled auto rickshaws, Taxis) These have to be developed in an integrated-cost effective-efficient manner.
- Pedestrianizing important stretches of the core city area and linking them with strategic parking places to encourage people to walk in such areas.
- Efficient utilization of existing capacity by providing well designed on-street parking lots, better use of off-street space, providing parking information, access improvement and management, improving pedestrian facilities, improving transportation alternatives, sharing parking space, public parking and valet parking;
- Reduction in parking demand through parking pricing, taxing parking, regulating time of parking, regulating parking of certain vehicles and car sharing;
- Parking supply management through remote parking, peripheral parking/ shuttles, subsidizing off-street parking, preferential parking, zoning regulation and fine-tuning parking requirements;
- Addressing variable demand by developing overflow parking plans and responding to spill-over impacts;
- Other management options through improving enforcement, safety and security, aesthetics and universal design.
It is anticipated that the urban local body shall assume responsibility for the actual implementation of the parking management plan taking into consideration the demand and supply characteristics and overall policy framework for management of parking in central areas. A dedicated and exclusive authority may be required to deal with parking issues which is reaching an alarming proposition and may become the major cause of traffic problems in central areas of urban settlements.
Multi-modal logistics park in Kerala
Kerala figures in the list of 11 States to have multimodal logistics parks, at a cost of `32,853Cr. The parks are to be set up under the Logistics Efficiency Enhancement Programme (LEEP) of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MORTH). Of the total cost, `10,665Cr is for acquisition of 4,816 acres, `10,359Cr for development of storage areas, and `11,828Cr for creating allied infrastructure.
The 15 cities, including Kochi, have been selected on the basis of the highest freight movement in Phase I. The proposed parks will act as hubs for freight movement enabling aggregation and distribution. Freight from production zones will be shipped to nearby logistics parks, where it will be aggregated and shipped to a park near the consumption zone on a larger sized vehicle.
A multi-modal company (MMC) under MoRTH has been envisaged to manage development of these parks. It will have varying representation and equity from the National Highways Authority of India, Railways, Airports Authority of India, Inland Waterways Authority of India and the Indian Ports Association. It will also be responsible for institutionalising partnerships.