In the second part of our campaign to reclaim the city’s footpaths, mid-day looks at one of the key reasons vehicle owners end up parking on sidewalks: the number of BMC-owned pay-and-park facilities in the city is a mere 85, of which the eastern suburbs have a grand total of four and the western suburbs have seven
For a city with more than 23 lakh vehicles, the BMC has 85 pay-and-park facilities, which can accommodate a grand total of 12,040 vehicles at any given time.
Where do the rest go? Some in parking lots in residential and office buildings, but most end up parked on the roads and footpaths, bringing us to the second part of mid-day’s campaign to reclaim the city’s sidewalks.
Vehicles parked in BMC-owned parking facilities near Crawford Market. Pics/Bipin Kokate
Experts say the lack of enough parking facilities is a key reason for the city’s footpaths being taken over by vehicles, and the numbers back that claim. The 85 BMC-owned facilities combined can hold a mere 8,501 four-wheelers and 3,539 two-wheelers. Of these, 74 are in the island city, leaving the western and eastern suburbs with a total of 11.
Near Eros Cinema in Churchgate. At 47, BMC’s A Ward, which these areas are part of, has the highest number of such parking lots in the city
Thus, in the eastern suburbs, from Kurla all the way to Mulund, the BMC has just four parking lots, with a combined capacity of 124 four-wheelers and 63 two-wheelers. The situation in the western suburbs, from Bandra to Dahisar, is only marginally better, with seven parking sites that can accommodate 634 four-wheelers and 350 two-wheelers.
The BMC had proposed 58 multi-level parking lots in the city, of which only one is operational, 55 are under construction and two have been constructed but are yet to be made operational.
The lots are supposed to be constructed by private developers on a build-operate-transfer (BOT) basis, wherein the developer operates the parking lot for five years before handing it over to the BMC.
The BMC’s lone operational multi-level parking lot is in Apollo Mills compound in Mahalaxmi and the other two that have been constructed are at Kanjurmarg and Saki Vihar (Kurla).
According to sub-engineer Anil Satav of the BMC’s Roads and Traffic department, the three constructed parking lots can accommodate 1,434 four-wheelers in all and the 55 others will provide space for parking another 42,664 vehicles a number that is far from enough, according to experts. Additional Municipal Commissioner SVR Srinivas and Chief Engineer (roads and traffic) Ashok Pawar were unavailable for comment.
If the city is like a human body, roads are its veins and arteries. If footpaths are encroached, pedestrian traffic will spill over onto the roads, leading to accidents. It is shameful that the BMC has such few parking lots. We need parking facility for at least 1-1.5 lakh vehicles and dedicated personnel to monitor parking violations. I think hawkers occupy less space than illegally parked vehicles. If the BMC plans properly, it can generate Rs 700 crore in revenue from parking lots. - Ashok Datar, transport expert
The hawking policy was drafted n violation of rules since it is the state government which is authorised to do so. People were not taken into confidence whether it was for the DP or parking and hawking policies. Just because people opposed these, however, does not mean they are happy with the way things are. We need better planning. - Nayana Kathpalia, Trustee, NGO Nagar
It is true that there is a shortage of BMC-run parking facilities in the city. One of the reasons for this is that the need for one is decided on the basis of a survey, which also takes the standard of living of people in an area into consideration. Even if there are 25 lakh vehicles in the city, they may not be all parked in public places. If the traffic police send us a request, we can consider allowing an open space to be used as a pay-and-park. We are working on a comprehensive mobility plan for the city which will address these issues. - J B Patel, deputy chief engineer, roads and traffic dept
We are scrutinising the status of all multi-level parking lots. The constructed ones will be given out on a contract basis and preference will be given to female contractors. - Prakash Gangadhare, chairman, civic improvements committee