The City’s parks are under threat again. While a few parks have turned into landfills, those in residential areas are set to become parking lots, if the Palike goes ahead with its plan.
According to sources in Urban Development department, the City faces acute shortage of parking space with the number of vehicles increasing every day. With no other alternative space available, officials have come up with the idea of using parks as parking lots.
The plan has been mooted as part of new parking policy likely to be unveiled soon.
Under this policy, government has divided central business districts and other premium locations into three zones. Parking fee will be collected on hourly basis in each zone. It also suggests multi-level parking facilities in the City, while mandating that building plans should not be approved in case they do not provide for parking space.
“Bangalore does not have the luxury of providing parking space on roads. The roads in the City are not wide enough. So, alternatives need to be thought of,” an official said.
M N Srihari, advisor to State government on transport and infrastructure, said while constructing multi-level parking spaces on government land is the best solution, parks can be utilised on a temporary basis.
“Government can also think of constructing underground parking slots below parks. Bangalore has some very nice parks. Underground parking spaces can be constructed below them, metered and managed,” he said.
Environmentalists, however, are against the proposal. They said this will kill a few remaining lung spaces in the City. According to the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), there are 1,050 developed parks and around 250 undeveloped parks in the Garden City. Developed parks are those where forceful planting has been done to create a green belt.
Greens point out that Karnataka Preservation of Parks Act, 1976, prohibits diversion of a part or whole of park for any other use.
Interestingly, the Act was amended and parking spaces were kept out of its purview when the government threw open some part of Cubbon Park for parking, a decade ago. Environmentalists fear that this could happen again.
Environmentalist A N Yellappa Reddy said using a portion of parks for waste segregation is acceptable. But utilising even a small part for parking is a crime.
“Around 70 per cent of City’s green spaces have been lost over the years. Further, normal temperatures have also increased by five to six degree Celsius. If parking is allowed in parks, the ambient air quality will get affected and temperatures will rise further. Instead, all government buildings should be used for parking,” he suggested.