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Efficient Parking System in Chandigarh
What is wrong with our parking system? ...
What is wrong with our parking system?
Subsidized-modern-hi-tech parking is an oxymoron
Chandigarh car density is highest in the country with 227 cars per 1000 people, but the parking rates that are one of the lowest in the country (Rs.5 for car and Rs. 2 for scooter/ bike). This in fact lies at the root of the parking violations. The parking licensees don’t make enough money to invest in CCTVs, boom barriers and other hi-tech gadgets among other things. They also resort to unlawful means like overcharging, allowing more vehicles than the capacity, allowing other economic activities in the parking lot etc.
Equitable distribution of road space
There should be an equitable distribution of road space in the city. Currently 90% of the road space is taken by 22% of the population that owns cars. The pedestrians and users of non-motorised vehicles are squeezed out of the road because in the absence of cycling lanes etc, it is not safe for them.
What should we be doing instead?
Higher charges for parking spaces would even limit our trips by car. That would cut emissions, alleviate congestion and, as a side effect and improve land use. If the same land is given to the developers, the government can earn much more than it is currently doing. The higher parking rates can augment the city resources which can then be invested in road safety, building dedicated cycling tracks, developing green areas, developing vehicle free zones like European countries.
Cities like London, Milan, Singapore, and Stockholm have imposed congestion tax and made parking expensive. In Chandigarh, we still believe in cheap parking. But, there is actually no such thing as cheap parking. Somebody is always paying for it. In our case it is the city administration, but at what cost?
• Shouldn’t we invest more in public transport systems?
• Shouldn’t we develop more green spaces?
• Shouldn’t we have more dedicated cycling tracks and pedestrian walkways like Singapore and other western countries?
• Should we be really subsidizing the parking for the rich? National Urban Transport Policy talks about parking as a public service but the moot question is if it should be subsidized by the administration and that too for the people who are more than capable enough to pay for it? These are some of the questions which need more public participation and deeper deliberation.