December 6, 2011 1:14:01 am
Civic agencies are constructing around 27 multi-level parking facilities in the city to resolve parking issues and decongest commercial areas,but experts say these sites may not achieve their purpose unless the surface-parking rates are increased substantially.
NDMC officials said that the automated multi-level parking site in Sarojini Nagar (called South Square),which opened its gates to the public recently,only had 400-odd cars parked there last Saturday and Sunday despite having a capacity of 824 vehicles. Motorists seemed to be keeping away despite the subsidised parking rates being offered,they added.
The Environment Pollution Control Authority,the body responsible for framing the parking policy,has also asked for a substantial increase at surface-level parking facilities in Sarojini Nagar. The proposal is yet to be implemented.
Officials said parking charges at the Sarojini Nagar multi-level parking site were subsidised to make it an attractive option for car users. But it does not seem to be working. The NDMC is also generating less revenue from this venture. As per our estimates,the parking charges per equal car space is about Rs 35-40 per hour,but the NDMC is charging only Rs 10. Only a quarter of the cost of constructing the parking lot will be recovered from the parking charges. The rest will be recovered through the commercial spaces created in the parking complexes, Anumita Roy Chowdhury,Executive Director,Centre for Science and Environment,said.
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The multi-level parking lots are being constructed at such a high cost,but unless there is a proper policy,these sites will not help resolve parking issues. More commercial space is being created in most of multi-level parking lots,but this is only likely to add to the issue. Parking charges should be used to make commuters use public transport, Chowdhury said.
The Sarojini Nagar multi-level parking complex also has some space allocated for commercial purposes. The NDMC claims that once the commercial space is made functional,more people will start using the facility.
Experts,on the other hand,maintain that parking rates should be rationalised. There should be proper management of on-street parking sites for multi-level parking to become a viable option for car users,they say.
The DDA had also constructed multi-level parking facility in Nehru Place. But people still park at the surface parking site because it is cheaper. In fact,now that the Metro parking facility has been constructed,people have started parking there. You cannot have variations in parking rate in one area itself. But no (rationalising) mechanism seems to be in place, said Chowdury,delivering his address at a conference-cum-exhibition on Sustainable Mobility-2011.
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