Wednesday , 19 February 2020

On-Road Parking Exploring Solutions

“The solution for on-street parking comes from a good public transport system, not just between a few locations, but through a comprehensive network with all nodes completed through the whole city.“

Amit Garg

Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic), Hyderabad Police

Parking, especially on-street parking, is a very big challenge for Hyderabad traffic police. This is mainly, in my opinion, due to a poorly designed licensing policy for shops near the street. There has been a considerable mix of commercial and residential areas in the city, so much so that it is virtually impossible to distinguish between the two at present. People run beauty parlours, takeaway eateries and many small IT establishments in residential areas without any parking at all. Even hospitals and many shopping complexes in the city have quite inadequate parking. The Hyderabad police have begun implementing enhanced fines for parking violations, a government directive which was lying unimplemented for some time. These include offences of unauthorised parking, using cell phones while driving, using projections on auto trolleys and jumping traffic signals. With the fines enhanced for these offences to 1000, it definitely has a deterrent impact on the violators.

The big challenge is how to tackle unauthorised parking – where to put segregations of parking and no-parking zones. For quite some time now, we have had a segregation of parking and no-parking areas with no-parking signs pasted on signboards placed in the area. With the enhanced fines, this is working out quite well now. Otherwise with the lower fines, motorists would not care, just pay and walk away. There was often a good deal of debate and arguments from the violators – where do we park our vehicles, show me a parking alternative, where do our customers park our vehicles? The Hyderabad Police has put forward these problems to the municipal authorities – the Hyderabad Municipal Development Authority and Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation. The city is planning to bring in multi-level car parks at many places to alleviate these parking problems. But the next task then is to educate the motorists about using these multi-level parking facilities which is not so easy. Every city has a certain culture and these solutions need to be implemented within that context. In Hyderabad, there are many business places where shopkeepers park their vehicles on the street, and say that they will be back soon, within 2-3 minutes. They do not want to go that extra 200-300 metres and park their vehicles in the proper parking places and walk from there. That is the kind of mindset of the motorists.

So on-street parking is absolutely a big challenge in Hyderabad city. In residential areas, many people own 2-3 cars and they do not have the parking space inside their own compound. Since cars are parked on the street, people find it difficult o come out of the street. Also, Hyderabad has a central business district where all the multiplexes have come up. In multiplexes parking area is not allotted and at the same time everybody wants to alight at the main entrance. Whenever a movie is released, these multiplexes have a tough time in controlling the traffic; there is parking all over the streets which are completely blocked in a radius of over one kilometre. This blocking is caused mainly due to inadequate parking and the people alighting right at the entrance of the multiplex, instead of alighting inside. So alighting is definitely another big challenge for the multiplexes.

“The city definitely has to have a concrete parking policy but in this policy, the three Es: Engineering, Education and Enforcement should go together. Otherwise we cannot find a solution.”

Sandeep Channan

Head- Business Development, Egis Infra Management India Pvt Ltd

Egis India can offer a lot to the parking problems in India though we are a solutions provider and not a systems provider. Professional management of a parking system is important. The police is doing its best to enforce the laws, but enforcement is only one of the ways of tackling the issues. For many, the enhanced fine of 1,000 for illegal parking is not much. Parking is most often improperly managed by people who are not professional enough; they just put up some stickers and then direct the motorists to park at some places. There has to be a different system. Like in Ireland, there is a system by which motorists can book their parking spaces in advance through various means including smart phones. They can specify the time at which they want the parking space and the duration for which they would be using it. The system gives information as to the number of parking spaces available at certain times and accordingly the motorist can plan his trip. The system can also show the parking lots where the parking is available – for example, Karol Baug, Lajpat Nagar etc in Delhi.

Another improvement could be extending the smart card facility that is now used for metro rail and which is being proposed to cover buses, taxis and other transport modes, to pay parking charges as well. Recently, NHAI has talked about integrating toll plazas. Going one step further, there can be a central clearing house which can be made available for parking; it can be made available for the buses and for various kinds of modes of transport. The solution can be implemented here and there are a lot of professional and experienced system providers who can provide the system required for such a solution, maybe by in designing a solution to fit the local context.

”The RFID parking system is a good one because it eliminates the queues of vehicles lined up for parking and the authorities have a complete database of all the vehicles.”

The parking database and can see how the demand for parking is growing, and accordingly provide solutions.

Another point is to consider giving parking licences to owners when new buildings come up.

When the town planners and the municipal corporations give the approval for these buildings, they should also take into consideration the parking infrastructure these buildings have.

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