No Free Parking In Mumbai–If This Group Of Urban Planners Has Its Way
Free parking may end in Mumbai as the city plans to streamline its traffic congestion.
The Mumbai Parking Authority, comprising 15 urban planners, has recommended regulating parking in one of the world’s most crowded cities. The authority, constituted by Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation to assist with the Mumbai Development Plan 2034, ended free parking in the city’s five most congested areas on a pilot basis from August-end.
“Nothing should be free. That’s the major announcement we want to make,” Prachi Merchant, senior urban planner at All India Institute of Local Self-Government and one of the members of the parking authority, told BloombergQuint. “Road space is not yours, it’s a shared space.”
Mumbai, with more than 3.3 million cars, has the world’s worst traffic flow. To ease the congestion, the parking authority had suggested that Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport—the operator of Mumbai’s bus service—open its depots to public parking for a fee. The city’s municipal corporation, too, commissioned parking lots in private buildings, many of which are now available for pay-and-park services. Besides, the civic body decided to impose a fine of at least Rs 10,000 on illegally parked vehicles.
Ashok Datar, an urban transportation expert on the MPA committee, said the move has great “shock-value”.
“When you’ve gone to sleep for so many years, you need to shake one up. It has made people to think that maybe I should take some extra effort and go to where parking is and not to park where I want,” Datar told BloombergQuint.
Owning a car, according to him, is almost the same as adding another bedroom. “A car requires the same amount of space as a bedroom, which is around 150 square feet. So, when you are parking, you are taking up a bedroom. So, you have to decide, can you afford an extra bedroom?”
Parking Pool System
The parking authority is also looking to develop a pool system—a three-phase plan to fully use the government and commercial plots as public parking spaces.
The MPA is in talks with Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority, Mumbai Port Trust, Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation and Indian Railways throw open their plots for public use, according to Merchant. The authority is also urging mall owners to provide parking facilities, some of which are ready to offer the facilities to housing societies, especially for old buildings that do not have parking lots, on a monthly basis.
Besides, the authority is trying to convince residential societies to open their parking lots for public use. But the residents are worried.
“Most of them (residents) have voiced on two issues—security and theft,” Merchant said. Also, car owners pay a hefty amount for parking space and nobody would want to give that space for free, she said.
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