Spaced out in Bangalore

Spaced out  in Bangalore

Every Bangalorean revisits his / her worst nightmare, searching for a parking lot. This is usually the case wherever you are in Bangalore. But if you are in the interiors of the city, you are bound to pull your hairs faster, going endlessly in circles looking for that small space. Here’s a random look at how people cope up, what they say in utter frustration and what they feel could be done.

Gandhi Bazaar area

In the Gandhi Bazaar area of Basavanagudi, the lack of a decent parking facility is apparent. Shoppers frequenting the busy market place find it tough, particularly if they are in a four-wheeler. The high density of food outlets and a range of commercial establishments outside the Bazaar proper, means the place is always crowded, with the few two-wheeler parking lots jammed. Since residents of even surrounding areas such as Chamarajpet prefer the market to shop, the crowds only get bigger.

The parking problem gets intense usually after 3.30 pm. People are forced to deposit their vehicles in no-parking zones, inviting the attention of the Tiger towers hired by the traffic police. Back from their shopping, many are faced with the prospect of spending the next few hours getting their vehicles back after paying hefty fines. Double parking, the bane of commuters, is often seen in the evenings. 

Abbas, the manager of a sweet shop in Gandhi Bazaar blames the vehicles that are parked for hours together. This, he reasons, is one reason why the congestion continues right through the day. For the traffic police, especially, the widespread practice of parking at the turning to Jayanagar is a major headache.

Although separate parking zones have been demarcated for two-wheelers and four-wheelers, the signboards are unclear. Confusion and wrong parking is the obvious result. 

Major festivals such as Varamahalakshmi, Ganesha Chaturthi and Ugadi brings in crowds in huge numbers to all the neighbouring areas. As K Kumar, manager of a bookstore in the vicinity, observes, the parking problem skyrockets because there will be no space even to walk! Kumar suggests that alternative parking facilities could be arranged a few streets away from the congested areas.

Old City areas

Congestion is the hallmark of the Old City areas, which combine the labyrinthine network of narrow roads and bylanes that make up Chickpet, Upparpet and Balepet. But if the old plan and layout, designed for an era where motorised vehicles were a rarity, was good enough three decades ago, it is starkly out of place today. Chaos is an everyday affair, because there is no order at all in the way vehicles are parked in the few places where the roads are relatively wide enough.

Most roads in the area are not wider than 30 ft. Being close to Majestic — the gateway to Bangalore — the area’s traffic is perennially high. Result: Even the traders have no space to park. The conversion of many purely residential spaces into commercial outlets has only added more worries to the road-users.

Rajesh, who has been running an electrical equipment shop in the area for the last five decades, has seen the transformation of the place very closely. The traffic police, he recalls, had banned parking on many roads allowing only a few sections. But this did not ease the congestion. Neither did the emergence of the Kempegowda parking complex built by the BBMP in the vicinity. “This complex was expected to solve the parking problems of Chickpet. But people refuse to go there since they are not willing to walk that extra mile to the shops,” points out Rajesh. 

Church Street and surroundings

No such parking complexes give relief for people who get to the MG Road, Brigade Road, and Church Street areas. Lucky are those who manage a parking space on Church street, which has a big number of eating places. Tourists, both domestic and foreign, frequent this area. But there is nothing touristy about the poor parking facilities here.

Tapian Pal, a trader running his business in Bangalore for the last 18 years, has to come to Church Street twice a week. He is forced to park his two-wheeler near KC Das at one end of the road and walk about a kilometer to the other end. The other option is to search all over Museum road or Rest House road that joins Church Street. Pal blames the car owners for taking up so much space to park. Instead, they should resort to car-pooling and reduce use of personal four-wheelers as much as possible, he says.

He is also against unauthorised parking fee collection. The traffic police, he emphasises, should put an end to this. Self-proclaimed parking attendants make a killing on the road, particularly during the weekends when the crowds come in droves. The scene gets really busy after 5 pm during the weekend, says traffic constable Hanumantharaju.

Mahadevappa, a car driver, has to come on duty to the area. His boss prefers to have coffee at one of the old restaurants there. But Mahadevappa’s problems start the moment he drops off his employer. The next hour is spent finding a place to halt without triggering a traffic jam! Yet, not many are as lucky as his employer to afford a driver! They end up spending an hour finding a parking space and another hour walking to their destination. Many would say they could have simply taken public transport !

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