That parking is a major issue in the city is a well-known fact. With 20 lakh vehicles on the road, authorities are racking their brains to arrive at a solution for the parking woes and reduce congestion on city streets. Various transport experts, government planners and the civic body are drawing maps for a Development Plan (DP) for the next 20 years starting with 2014, in which ‘parking’ has been incorporated as a vital concern.
At a recent meeting held on December 17, many of them felt the need not only to increase the on-street parking multifold, but also to create arrangements in areas near railway stations that would eliminate parking of private vehicles completely. One of the suggestions was made by transport expert Ashok Datar, of Mumbai Transformation Forum (MTF), who said, “When compared to other cities like London, the parking fee should be at least Rs 100 per hour in the island city.”
Recently, the BMC had proposed to hike parking fees at different slabs in the island city (Rs 60), western suburbs (Rs 40) and eastern suburbs (Rs 20) and MiD DAY had reported on the same (‘Hiked parking charges first step towards congestion tax’, December 14). Although there is no precise estimate of the total number of vehicles parked on roads, experts claim that they easily eat up 30 per cent of the road space. “The quality of public transport needs to improve. Presently 78 per cent of them use trains and buses in Mumbai,” said P Merchant, consultant-urban planning, Mumbai Transformation Support Unit (MTSU).
Besides this, planners are also looking at transit-oriented development (TOD) near railway stations. This means that in a radius of 500-sq mt of area around railway stations, it is proposed to develop the land to have high-rises with residential and commercial complexes. Experts added that there should be no parking near the stations, so as to provide people space to walk to the nearest bus depot, taxi and auto stands.
“There shouldn’t be any parking at least in 200 metres around the railway station. However, parking also needs to be properly provided and only high charges aren’t a solution,” said a member from EMBARQ India, a transport and urban planning body. Senior planner V Pathak claimed that one couldn’t eliminate parking completely and that the meeting was mainly to get views from different sections of people.