Haphazard parking a snarling problem for city’s congested roadshttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/haphazard-parking-a-snarling-problem-for-citys-congested-roads/

Haphazard parking a snarling problem for city’s congested roads

Panel set up to look into traffic woes lays blame on availability of cheap or free parking

IN eight meetings held between June 2012 and February 2013,the 11-member committee appointed by the Bombay High Court to analyse Mumbai’s traffic woes,has identified 35 problem areas.

The problem of haphazard parking leading to traffic snarls,according to the committee’s report submitted to the Bombay High Court in a PIL filed by the Bombay Bar Association,is,to a great extent,caused by the availability of free or cheap parking. The report states that when compared to cities like Hong Kong,New York and Bangkok,parking in Indian cities is much cheaper.

“In Hong Kong and New York,pricing is market driven with monthly parking rates for a reserved space ranging from Rs 10,000 to Rs 20,000… As a result,car ownership in such vertical cities is much lower than what the purchasing power of people in these cities would warrant.”

In Mumbai,the report says,there is ample free parking on the road and parking cost,levied by the BMC,is as low as Rs 5 to Rs 20 per hour. With the addition of 50,000 cars annually,apart from two-wheelers,water tankers,school buses and commercial vehicles,the demand for parking space would escalate each year. “The effect is visible — most of these vehicles are parked on roads in an unregulated manner. The situation is getting alarming,” the report states.

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It says that in 2012,traffic police identified 4.4 lakh cases of wrong parking and collected fine worth Rs 4.06 crore. “But that does not seem to help the situation,” the report states.

Lack of an effective parking policy has led to citizens using their cars more,the report states. “Even for short distances which can be walked,private vehicles are used. This leads to endorsement of high per capita use and causes insurmountable congestion on the road network.”

Surprisingly,the report says,“As many as 42 per cent people make their entire journey by walking. Within a sub-region,walking accounts for more than 50 per cent of the trips.”

The report,however,says that very high pedestrian movement causes congestion. “Due to lack of good street design features and proper sidewalks and crosswalks,pedestrians are forced to use carriageways meant for vehicles,” the report states.

The report points out that the ratio of traffic police officers to traffic junctions in Mumbai (1,238 junctions and 3,495 police officers),is the lowest at 2.8. Delhi has 1,028 traffic junctions with 5,665 police officers while Kolkata has 800 junctions manned by 5,521 police officers.

Among the 3,495 sanctioned personnel under the Mumbai Traffic Control Branch,there were 296 vacancies as of January 31. “On an average during day shifts,there is one traffic policeman for 1,938 vehicles and during the night shift,there is one traffic policeman for 13,365 vehicles,” the report says.

“Existing personnel are overburdened and handle extremely stressful situations at traffic junctions,in addition to responding to other important traffic related issues,including VVIP movement,festivals,events,rallies,etc,” the report says. In 2012,41 cases of assault on traffic policemen were reported. “There is a wide gap between existing resources and expected tasks of the traffic police,” says the report.

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On an average,450 new vehicles are being added to the road network each day

Kalanagar junction: Number of vehicles using the intersection during peak period increased from 15,000 in 2010 to 19,500 in 2012