Choc-a-Bloc: Congested Delhi car park finds way out of puzzle Latest News Delhi | Delhi News

Delhi has about 20 million residents. It has 17,882 km of roads. And it has 13.4 million registered vehicles (including 4.5 million cars), which is more than the number of vehicles in Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai combined. And, in 2021, an average of 548 vehicles were registered every day in the capital. Taken together, the math adds up to a huge parking problem.

In south Delhi colonies dominated by so-called builder flats, everyone parks outside, on footpaths, or worse, on the roads.

In middle-class neighbourhoods, such as the capital’s many Delhi Development Authority (DDA) colonies, and the city’s ubiquitous unauthorized colonies, where up-gradation means more vehicles, people can park in common areas wherever they want.

Quarrels are frequent. Every metropolitan city in the world admits it has a parking problem (and some do). Delhi’s response to them is simple: “I must park my car here for a few minutes; I’ll be right back”.

Everything is fine on paper.

Delhi already has a road-map in the form of the Delhi Maintenance and Management of Parking Places Rules. But despite the direct intervention of the Supreme Court, which ensured notification of the policy in September 2019, key aspects of the parking scheme are yet to be implemented. Populism is one reason; The reluctance of the administration to take difficult decisions is another matter.

As expected, both the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), now busy seeking votes for the civic polls early next month, have promised a permanent solution.

Management of public parking spaces is an important function of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD). And parking is also an important revenue stream. Fixing parking rates, allotting authorized parking spaces, preparing local parking area plans and levying one-time parking and conversion charges are all under the purview of the civic body. Its Project Cell is in charge of managing 403 parking spaces through private contractors. As per the Integrated MCD Budget (2022-23), the earnings of the municipal body are estimated 125 crores from car parking charges and 90 crores this year from parking conversion schemes. This is approximately 1.5% of the corporation’s annual budget.

In AAP’s manifesto, the issue of parking comes third in terms of priority after cleanliness and corruption. Announcing the party’s 10 guarantees for the MCD polls, AAP convenor and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal promised a “permanent, permanent and practical solution to the parking problem”.

BJP state chief and former North MCD mayor Adesh Gupta said that in the last 15 years, when his party has been in charge of the MCD, the corporation has built at least 100 modern parking lots in Delhi and one for the state’s status. held responsible. Failed public transport system.

The metro has helped – it has yet to meet its pre-pandemic peak of 6.5 million riders a day, but it ferries nearly a million people a day – but only in the sense that without it things would have been worse . Experts say this hasn’t necessarily taken cars off the road, only slowed the rate of their addition. The BJP has been continuously raising the issue of Delhi’s inadequate bus connectivity and blaming AAP for it.

“The Delhi government has destroyed the city’s public transport system, adding to the parking problem,” Gupta said.

Stilt parking was made mandatory in builder flats and other developments in 2021 itself. And where it does exist, it is insufficient. Pankaj Aggarwal of the Safdarjung Development Area Residents Welfare Association (RWA) and general secretary of the Delhi RWA Joint Front said there have been increasing conflicts between neighbors over the common space in front of their houses, which is owned by the state, along with the locals. The police station is getting its share of complaints related to this.

“Vehicle occupancy is increasing with the increase in the number of floors. If there are four people in a family, everyone has one car and stilt parking cannot accommodate all of them anymore.”

Agarwal also blames “spillover effect from neighboring unplanned areas like Arjun Nagar and Krishna Nagar, where people cannot even park on the streets due to narrow lanes”, but this seems unlikely given the enthusiasm of people in areas like Safdarjung Is. Believe that they deserve it.

Towards the Faridabad border, the narrow lanes of Sangam Vihar – Asia’s largest unauthorized colony by some accounts – have similar concerns. The area has been divided into three municipal wards and the councilors are raising the demand in MCD forums that the open public spaces be converted into multilevel parking lots to meet the demands of the residents.

The MCD operates 403 authorized parking lots across the city, including 390 surface parking lots and several multilevel parking projects, which can accommodate approximately 50,771 four-wheelers, 32,603 ​​two-wheelers and 1,705 six-wheelers such as trucks and buses. .

An MCD official said the corporation has started work on eight multi-level car parking projects with a capacity of 3,500 cars and would be opened in 2023.

The corporation is also increasingly focusing on automated puzzle stack parking projects, thus named for pallets that move both horizontally and vertically, like they do in a puzzle. These projects will come up in Nizamuddin Basti (86 cars), M-Block Market GK-1 (399 cars), Amar Colony, Lajpat Nagar (81 cars), Punjabi Bagh cremation ground (225 cars), Qutub Road (174 cars). , Nigambodh Ghat (95 cars), Fatehpuri (196 cars) as well as Shiv Market in Pitampura (500 cars) and Gandhi Maidan, Chandni Chowk (2,338 cars) with large units.

The MCD official said, “MCD is identifying new viable locations to develop surface parking lots and is also in the process of developing multi-level parking projects.”

Of course, this still doesn’t solve the parking problem in south Delhi colonies and societies.

Prompted by the apex court, the Delhi Maintenance and Parking Space Management Rules, adopted in 2019, advocate prioritizing the rights of pedestrians and cyclists; calls for securing footpaths, green spaces and intersections; demanded easier access for emergency vehicles, the handicapped and vendors – all of whom called for haphazardly parked vehicles to be regulated. The policy envisioned mapping and inventorying all existing parking, demarcating on-street slots in both residential neighborhoods and commercial areas, creating new lots, and introducing a dynamic pricing mechanism for demand-side management .

While the draft parking rules suggested parking charges in residential areas, this provision was later dropped by the government. Meanwhile, the MCD never went ahead with its plan to introduce dynamic pricing and increase on-street parking costs during peak hours, especially in areas where multilevel parking is available.

Indeed, even during air pollution emergencies, where the so-called Phase 3 restrictions of the Graded Response Action Plan mandate hike in parking fees to discourage private transport, corporation officials have been reluctant to implement this provision. Parking fees were raised once, on November 9, 2017, but public backlash and ensuing chaos resulted in a quick rollback, lasting only a week.

The parking policy also authorized corporations to create parking area management plans (PAMPs) with neighborhood-specific solutions.

The three erstwhile MCDs had started work on the construction of 38 PAMPs in different localities such as Anand Lok, Aurobindo Marg (IIT to Niti Bagh), and Nizamuddin Basti, but lack of initiative led to unpopular decisions at the political level, competing interests of stakeholders The numbers and repeated disruptions due to the pandemic have ensured that the effort remains a non-starter.

Seva Ram, professor of transport planning at the School of Planning and Architecture, said the corporation needs to address the demand for parking not only in commercial areas but also around schools, institutional and semi-institutional building complexes.

MCD has failed to implement these PAMPs for more than three years. The argument of paucity of funds is not correct and additional funds from differential parking rates should be utilized to create reliable last mile connectivity. Merely increasing the parking rate will not work. MCD should also bring more information dissemination system to make people aware about multilevel parking and space availability.

Corporation officials cite financial and space constraints and resistance from traders and residents as the main constraints in formulating these policies.

Nitin Gupta, who heads the traders’ association in Kamla Nagar, one of the three sites where a pilot project was done to draft the parking policy, said the corporation should first be charged for large-scale parking and conversion charges. Must be held accountable for what has been done. levied on the markets, and claimed that these funds were diverted for other purposes. The conversion fee was introduced in 2007 as per a provision of the Master Plan of Delhi (MPD) 2021, as a levy to create commensurate infrastructure for converting residential units into commercial and mixed land use zones.

Save Our City campaign convenor Rajeev Kakaria said the current parking mess is due to unscientific planning by the DDA, dilution of plot coverage area norms coupled with mixed land use provisions and unreliable public transport.

“The authorities allowed reduction of ‘setback’ areas on major 100 feet (wide) roads, while completely removing ‘set-backs’ on minor roads like Kalkaji. 2021 Master Plan ruins quality of life and MPD 2041 doesn’t provide a solution (either),” he said.

Agarwal of the Delhi RWA Joint Forum argued for a Singapore-like system in which no more vehicles are allowed on the road until valid proof of parking is shown.

“Owning a car parking space costs more than owning a car. Our city is already saturated,” he said.

This seems unfair on new buyers, especially since existing car owners, including those in Agarwal’s own neighbourhood, cannot show such proof.

The Garage Act in Japan mandating garage certificates for car owners, car purchase restrictions in Beijing and congestion pricing in London show that large metropolitan cities are trying various measures to cope with ever-increasing parking demands. Experts say any solution will require discipline and sustained enforcement and will involve pain.

Experts say the solution to Delhi’s parking problem lies in local ward-wise planning and rationalization of space.

Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director, research and advocacy at the Center for Science and Environment (CSE), said that Delhi already has parking rules of 2019, under which the PAMP is yet to be constituted.

“These plans will focus on variable pricing and there will be no parking on sidewalks. Its purpose is to reduce the demand for parking and people will use it only when needed. The MPD 2041 also calls for transit-oriented development of Delhi which, the plan says, requires parking around metro stations. This will encourage greater use of public transport, and hence the MCD needs to work keeping these two principles in mind.”

Sonal Shah, executive director of the Center for Sustainable and Equitable Cities (C-SEC), an organization working on integrated transport systems and public space design, said the rules for on-street parking management in Delhi were adopted by the state transport department. With the goal of managing on-street parking to prioritize the very limited street space for walking, cycling and public transport in 2019.

“A key element of this is managing and pricing on-street parking. Unfortunately, area-based plans are being drawn up that demarcate parking spaces without consideration of walking amenities. Second, on-street parking spaces Being ‘allotted’ – Public space being used for free for private vehicles. This is not in line with the principle of the Delhi Parking Management Rules. There may be concerns about pushback from residents, but the air quality Along with sensitizing the residents about the benefits, a parking management plan has to be prepared.

Shah said the C-SEC has drawn up a parking management plan around Green Park, which can serve as a model for the PMAP.

“We need to rethink the approach to how parking management sector plans are currently being drawn up so that it can serve its purpose: reallocating and prioritizing space for people, not cars “

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