Activists working in the urban mobility space in the city say the draft policy is contradictory to the state government’s draft mobility plan

Tired of haphazard parking in Bengaluru Have your say on new draft parking policyRepresentational image
news Civic/ Transport Monday, April 06, 2020 - 18:29

Are you upset about your walking spaces like pavements being encroached by parked vehicles? Or tired with the entrance to your home blocked by someone’s car? You can finally make your voice heard till April 14, which is the last date to submit suggestions, comments and objections to the draft parking policy prepared by the Directorate of Urban Land Transport (DULT) for Bengaluru city. 

The first such policy prepared by DULT more than a decade ago did not get implemented.

The draft prepared by DULT in collaboration with the Traffic Engineering Department of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) which was released in March can be accessed here.

At the outset, DULT says it has a four-point goal: making a shift from chaotic parking to organized parking in the city; from free parking to paid parking; move from government-driven parking supply to market-driven parking supply; and management and ensure strict enforcement of the new policy – a shift from the present “passive and weak” enforcement.

However, activists working in the urban mobility space in the city say the draft parking policy is contradictory to the state government’s draft mobility plan released earlier as it does not stress on discouraging private transport to naturally reduce the demand for parking zones.

Nagesh Aras, an activist, pointed out a host of problems with the current draft plan. For one, “while the comprehensive mobility plan proposes to increase the trip share of public transport to 73%, the parking policy actually encourages private transport by making cheap parking available across the city.” he said.
 
He added that the government did not do ‘Travel Demand Modeling’ to understand the parking demand for each Traffic Analysis Zone. On the supply side, the policy wrongly assumes that its model is scalable, and any number of off-street parking slots can be created.  We simply do not have any data for such decisionmaking; either for present or for future.”

Similarly, Sanjeev Dhyamanavar, a public transport policy expert in Bengaluru, also said that the parking policy should be coherent to the overall mobility plan of the city. “Ideally, this should all be formed by an organization like the Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority, so that while solving one mobility problem in the city, two-three interlinked problems can also be addressed. Primary importance should be given to discouraging private vehicles from entering the CBD (Central Business District) area by making paid parking expensive and scarce. And all the revenue collected should be utilized to incentivise public transport by reducing fares and increasing service,” he said.

“But they should not allow parking on roads like Brigade Road. It is in practice now, but the road width is too small. This way they are only encouraging private vehicles. Other than this, they should make taxi/ auto stands in all busy areas of the city so they do not park on roads. At the policy level itself, we should make public transport much more attractive, and this can only happen with multimodal integration of transport systems,” he added.

Srinivas Alavilli, an activist advocating for decentralization in governance, said, “Parking policy is essentially a city policy. City corporation, which in this case is the BBMP, should be the one that passes this resolution and enforces it along with other agencies.  While it’s a city-wide policy, it needs to be further decentralised to ward level. Since this policy requires behaviour change, if we incentivise wards to receive the primary chunk of revenues they will be willing to get things done locally. The policy can also mandate what the ward can do with revenues coming out of this - for example, use the revenue for pedestrian facilities.”

He further added, “Ward committees represent all sections of society and know the local dynamics and will be able to bring the community to own the new policy. Another important aspect is to enforce the basement parking rules for all commercial establishments where the basement is supposed to be parking space but mostly used for rentals, causing parking issues everywhere. Commercial entities will resist parking fees to avoid loss of customers and following the basement parking will benefit them as well as the city.”

Meanwhile the draft bill Management and Maintenance of Parking Rules, 2018 which suggested banning of street side parking in busy roads remains in cold storage.

Read: Law making roadside parking in Bengaluru chargeable may apply in a month

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