Jam-packed with vehicles of all shapes and sizes, there’s little space on Bengaluru’s roads today. But the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike believes there’s nothing wrong with parking vehicles on the already choking roads.
The BBMP is planning to reintroduce the ‘pay and park system’ on the city’s roads. Under this system, vehicles can be parked on a designated side of the road.
This system was scrapped in 2005 due to the increasing bottlenecks in the city and the Palike, at that time, had decided to construct pay-and-park facilities.
But now, the municipal body has got the government’s nod to reboot the plan, and is consulting the Directorate of Urban Land Transport and the Traffic Department to set the ball rolling.
The reason: They want to boost revenue for BBMP.
“We have identified 80 commercial and major roads in Bengaluru where the pay-and-park facility will be implemented. The number of vehicles are increasing every day, and this will also help boost the revenue,” said MN Gunashekar, Standing Committee Chairman for Tax and Finance.
They also plan to introduce a mobile application, where motorists can book parking spaces in advance.
The BBMP believes that this move will ‘instil discipline’ among motorists. “If there are vehicles parked, then people will drive on the right side of the road and also ensure that they follow lane discipline,” Gunashekhar added.
According to an official at the Urban Development Department, it would have been wiser for the BBMP to identify spots where parking facilities can be constructed instead of adding on to the growing traffic jams.”
The BBMP has decided to fix the parking fee based on the land value. A senior official with BBMP said that private landowners who are willing to give their land for parking will be offered a tax rebate, but this is very difficult to come by as no one wants to part with their land in prime locations.”
Additional Commissioner of Traffic, R Hitendra, however, said that his department had not yet received any formal request from the BBMP in this regard. He said that the Traffic Department had been looking for land for a pay-and-park facility in Central Bengaluru based on a public-private partnership model.
Traffic planning expert MN Shihari heavily criticised the Palike’s plan to allow vehicles to be parked on roads.
“Road are meant for people to drive freely and for pedestrians to be able to walk on without bumping into parked vehicles every now and then. According to the Government of India guidelines, vehicles should not be parked on roads. There are 56 lakh vehicles in the city and the traffic jams are horrible. If parked vehicles take up half the space of the narrow roads, there will not be any space left to drive,” Shrihari said.
He said that the multilevel parking areas at Shivajinagar, Shantinagar, Yeshwanthpur, JC Road, Jayanagar, KR Market, and Rajajinagar are models for roads to be free of parked vehicles, and that the BBMP should construct more facilities on those lines.