#VinitasPune – Who Is Responsible For Pune’s Parking Mess?

Parking Mess
Image used for representation only

 

City Builders and Developers get away with provision of inadequate parking spaces and the authorities respond with weak policies on parking norms for commercial buildings and yet, it is us citizens who are blamed for the parking jams..

The PMC website www.pmc.gov.in arrogantly states in its parking policy section.
“The rising numbers of vehicles in Pune city are likely to lead to 4.5 lakhs parking spaces every year, and that is simply preposterous to supply. Parking facilities are a major cost to society.

It elaborates:  “As the numbers of vehicles in the city explode, parking becomes a public nuisance, swallowing all available spaces meant for other road users as well as creating a demand for all available open spaces to be turned into parking lots.

The mindset that ‘provision of parking is a right’ must be changed. Creation of parking space and land required for that is extremely valuable and no resident has the right to its free use.’’ It further states: “People’s cooperation is essential to install a sense of discipline to obey traffic and parking regulations…

“Indiscriminate parking in front of their business and personal places in violation of parking norms can defeat any effort.

This is a difficult aspect but it can be achieved by involving market associations,
residents associations and interest groups who are keen to make their city a good place
to live in. New concepts like car free day, congestion taxes, vehicle free zones etc. need
to be promoted by such interest groups. Public education, awareness campaigns and
public participation programmes shall play an important role in giving this policy a wide
recognition.’’

I ask today in this open communication to the PMC, Why is the noose around the neck of citizens only for parking policy? Why not answer these questions for our benefit?

I, like most commuters of private vehicles would not like to park on the roads, but tell me what I should do in this case? For example, the new ICICI Bank has opened up since the last few years on Bhandarkar Road.

Now, this commercial building barely has parking for its handful of employees whereas it
attracts hundreds of customers throughout the day until 8 pm.

Being a commercial building, why didn’t you make it mandatory for the builder/developer to provide ample parking space in its basement and perhaps on one or two floors more, when you gave him/her permission to build? At any given time there are 50 to 75 odd two-wheelers and 5-10 four wheelers.

That would have been do-able by the builder, right? Now, they all park and congest the entire Lane no 11, where residents reside, causing them grave inconvenience.

I know what your answer is going to be – you have still not made a strong policy for parking norms for commercial buildings (despite taking up this issue since the 1980s). It’s not rocket science to do so but then you are afraid to make stern laws for reasons best known to you…

Why, then blame citizens for ‘indiscriminate’ parking?

Parking mess

I like, many other commuters for sure would like to travel by public transport that is buses and reduce congestion on roads and roadsides.

But tell me, what is the state of the PMPML bus transport system?

Everyday, when I travel for work, which is a good 28 kms from my house, I not only see most of your buses in dilapidated condition but at least 2-3 of them break down practically everyday, on the route that I travel!

I see the commuters get out these buses and helplessly wait for an alternate bus to come by. I feel so sad and angry that because you are an inefficient entity, it is we, the citizens who have to suffer.

If we had a regular, meticulous and clean bus system, 50 citizens including me would travel by bus and 50 such vehicles – two-wheeler and four-wheeler – would be off the roads! Imagine that’s for just one bus.

So, if you were to ply adequate numbers on adequate routes and at regular intervals, there would be no traffic or parking congestion problem. But you are, I allege, that deliberately
you don’t want an efficient PMPML bus system again because you are allegedly playing into hands of certain lobbies.

So before you shamelessly state that providing enough parking space “is simply preposterous to supply’’ it is indeed shameful that you are not meeting the demands of a city which is bustling with professional and educational activity and one which has become a young, working city!

I, for one would love to be a part of citizen awareness groups to spread the good word about discouraging private vehicles and indiscriminate parking.

However, before that, where are the demarcated parking zones where you promised to make multi-level parking? How many of them have been snatched for other purposes?

Also, before you wax eloquent about discouraging private vehicles, we would love to hear from you about how you will make citizens accessible to an efficient public transport system.

I appreciate that you have begun making pedestrian-friendly footpaths and cycle routes and have also established a separate cycle department. But you know what, I’m waiting for the chronological order of making this effective.

No answers for guessing of course – make us travel in good condition buses that run regularly and efficiently. In the meanwhile, take action into indiscriminate building bye law violations and using an iron hand while giving building permissions that do not have adequate parking facilities. Amen.

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#All views expressed in this column are the authors and Pune365 does not necessarily subscribe to them.

Vinita Deshmukh

Vinita Deshmukh

Passion for the written word that comes alive, not only to tell a story, but to speak out loud about all that's good, bad and the ugly in society...

That's Vinita Deshmukh, Senior journalist and RTI activist who believes in journalism that reflects the views and needs of the common man.

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Vinita Deshmukh

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