Monday , 24 February 2020

Rethinking parking policy to improve accessibility ? A pilot study in Mumbai for comprehensive parking reform


? Already about 46% of the existing population travel by public transport. It is important to increase this share as there is a serious threat of excessive motorization.

? Metro line-3 is being planned from Colaba to SEEPZ (Santacruz Electronics Export Processing Zone) and it will provide major connectivity to the SEEPZ area.

? Since the area lies in the transit influence zone of Metro Corridor-1, there is an opportunity to regulate both on-street and off-street parking.

? It is the opportune time to plan because a large amount of redevelopment is taking place in the area and the DCR (Development Control Regulations) modifications call for additional FSI for specific type of uses such as IT and biotechnology.

? Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) has already initiated the process for implementing the redesign of two streets in MIDC Marol (Central Road and Cross Road B) to provide safe and accessible streets. These will serve as pilot projects to improve all streets in MIDC Marol.

? BEST?s management has issued a proposal for parking private buses at Marol and Majas depots during daytime.

? Presence of a strong Industrial Association such as MIDC Marol Industries Association (MMIA) that is keen on improving the area.

Based on field observations and a review of MIDC DCRs and interaction with MMIA members the following issues / challenges were identified.

1. Along several streets in the MIDC area, vehicles are randomly parked on both sides of the road. On-street parking is free and there is no enforcement for designated parking. At some locations, vehicles are parked where there are no footpaths for pedestrians, forcing pedestrians to walk on the carriageway.

2. Several stakeholders are involved as far as parking in the area is concerned.

a. Streets are maintained by MCGM; therefore, on-street parking policy is governed by MCGM.

b. The traffic police department is responsible for enforcement.

c. DCRs for MIDC exist; hence the off-street parking is being developed as per these rules.

3. DCRs have called for minimum parking requirements for different uses.

4. DCR modification in 2009 calls for FSI increase due to redevelopment, but does not take into account issues related to the capacity of the streets and existing congestion levels.

5. SEEPZ is a Special Economic Zone at the northern end of MIDC Marol area. Private buses that carry employees to / from SEEPZ are parked all day along MIDC Central Road. The parked private buses take away one lane in each direction along a major portion of MIDC Central Road. Also, MIDC Central road is an arterial major collector road that provides connectivity between two major east-west arterial roads – Jogeshwari-Vikhroli Link Road (JVLR) and Andheri-Kurla Link Road (AKLR).

6. Parked private buses create a tunnel affect for pedestrians by obstructing their view and interaction with the street, forcing them to use the carriageway, instead of footpaths.

Based on the understanding of the area, the following methodology has been adopted to address specific issues related to parking:

? Literature review of approaches, parking policies and methodologies adopted in different contexts (Europe, Asia, USA and India)

? Demand and supply assessment of on-street, off-street parking, depots and private plots

? Understanding existing building bye-laws, as per the DCR related to parking

? Identifying parking strategies and travel demand management for the MIDC area

? Defining the institutional structure for implementing the parking policy since several stakeholders are involved

Collection of on-street parking data using the above methodology was carried out from 8am to 10pm every 30 minutes on a weekday along all streets in MIDC area. The data collection included vehicle type and type of parking (parallel, perpendicular etc.). For the off-street parking, information was collected from more than 60 different plots of different sizes and use.

Preliminary analysis of the data indicates that more than 400 vehicles are parked throughout the day just along MIDC Central Road. Of the total vehicles parked during the day, more than 35 percent vehicles are parked for a minimum of three hours or more. Average duration of vehicles parked is more than four hours along MIDC Central Road in front of SEEPZ. The average duration of parking on other parts of the MIDC Central Road stretch is about 2.5 hours. Data also indicates that over 30 vehicles per peak hour are parked on each of the two roads, Cross Roads B and C. Cross Road B caters to about 161 parked vehicles, while Cross Road C carries 275 parked vehicles throughout the day. All these vehicles are parked without any cost, resulting in huge loss of revenue for the Corporation which can otherwise be used to fund local projects for improving non-motorised trips access and safety.

Off-street analysis of plots indicated that most of the business-workers park their vehicles in front of their building along access streets and hence the usage is very high. This will be an issue with the redevelopment if individual plots are developed. Based on the existing growth curve and without any serious interventions to address parking in a sustainable manner, the demand for parking will increase further.

Several cities in recent times have adopted strategies to address demand management through parking regulations, both on-street and off-street. For instance, Chicago has aimed for a 50% reduction of parking supply within a 600-feet radius of its mass transit stations. Chicago has also adopted an incremental pricing strategy and has designed complete streets by substituting kerb side parking with pedestrian footpaths, cycle paths etc. New York has reprogrammed road space by reducing the number of traffic lanes and providing space for bus and bike lanes, and pedestrian areas. Ecoparq, Mexico City?s ?urban mobility? programme, focuses on addressing parking issues by taking up pilot projects with participation from local community and investing 30% of the total revenue collected on local projects.

There is a need to look at parking holistically as a part of a number of strategies to encourage the use of public transport. More specifically, it should be viewed and approached in conjunction with accessibility improvement. Based on our on-going analysis, field observations, and interactions with local stakeholders, some of the key strategies that will help in addressing parking issues in MIDC Marol are:

? Plan and price on-street parking in relation to convenience

a. Surcharge during peak hours

b. No parking along transit streets like Cross Road B as it will witness a large number of pedestrians moving to and from Chakala Metro Station.

c. Limited duration for parking along other major corridors

? Replace parking minimums by parking maximums since MIDC area is within a transit zone

? Incentivise shared parking as a way to make a more efficient use of off-street parking

? Carry out transport impact assessment studies for each redevelopment project, given that the traffic situation is in complete gridlock.

? Utilise existing BEST depots for private bus parking

? Use technology to enable users to make informed decisions on where to park and other available modes of commuting

? Strict enforcement by a special unit ? engage private contractors to manage parking for effective enforcement and compliance

? At the city level, a Comprehensive Parking Unit (CPU) for Mumbai should be established that will look after all on-street and vertical parking, management, personnel management for operation, marking, metering as well as use of smart cards, other electronic devices for information and effective controls. It can work towards a regime of close to market driven prices (over a period of time) and develop compliance mechanisms. The CPU should be created as a special wing with necessary budget, space and personnel.

Pawan Mulukutla has more than 12 years of experience in transportation planning and traffic engineering, including 10 years in USA.

The author wishes to acknowledge the contribution and support by MMIA, intern Cesar E. Simborth and his colleagues at EMBARQ for their support in carrying out the pilot study.

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