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Delhi has 75 million active vehicles, but parking space less than million
Economic Times, 11 Sep '19

At a time when the Supreme Court is laying emphasis on adequate parking through space management in residential neighbourhoods, among other steps, the ground situation isn't encouraging.

The four municipal bodies in Delhi have place for 94,000 vehicles in 434 surface, stack and multilevel parking lots, besides space for a few thousand in 103 Delhi Metro stations, but the city has 3.16 million four-wheelers alone among 7.5 million registered and active vehicles.

The Environmental Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority, a Supreme Court mandated body, said in a recent report that parking in residential areas is necessary to cope with the aggravating problem. It said parking in such areas should be the joint responsibility of the municipal corporations, DDA and other land-owning agencies and the residents' welfare associations and shopkeepers' associations.

Anumita Roy Chowdhury, executive director, research and advocacy, Centre for Science and Research, said that EPCA's Parking Area Management Plan was necessitated by the unplanned handling of parking space. "The plan, to be tried out in three residential areas and replicated if successful across the city, not only includes earmarking parking space in residential colonies and vacant plots, but also emptying one lane for free movement of emergency vehicles and shifting vehicles to parking lots in the vicinity," she said.

Roy Chowdhury said because of the limitation on available public land, EPCA is keen on parking fees in residential areas. "Some areas, such as Anupam Apartment in Saket and Yamuna Apartment in Alaknanda, have already set an example," she added. Societies there charge Rs. 300-1,800 (US$ 4.16-24.93) per month for parking.

EPCA member Sunita Narain said that private cars should park in multilevel parking lots during certain hours. This is being tried out in Kalkaji, Hauz Khas, Munirka and Rajouri Garden. "The use of parking facilities is being undercut by the unhindered availability of free parking on public roads," Narain said.

Ashutosh Dikshit, CEO, URJA, a residents' association, said colony parking could be a solution only if implemented on a significant level. "The concept of pilot projects delays result and complicates the issue. The authorities should focus on notifying the parking rules immediately and begin implementing it in all neighbourhoods simultaneously," he said. "Also, parking charges should be made compulsory in residential areas, otherwise the problem of illegal parking will continue."

Others said a comprehensive plan involving all agencies was an absolute necessity "What is the point of earmarking parking space on residential lanes when DDA doesn't ensure enough setback construction in housing complexes for parking?" asked Rajeev Kakri, Greater Kailash I resident. "Similarly, the municipal corporation has to ensure no extra floor is added, while the trade and commerce department has to make certain that markets close by around 8 pm so that space can be used for parking of residential vehicles."