An everyday nightmare in Laxmi Nagar

It is mandatory for buildings to provide parking space, but only a few comply

Streets of Laxmi Nagar in East Delhi have remained clogged for years now.

 Some people here have no option but to park their cars and motorbikes a kilometre away from their homes and, if need be, on the pavements of the main Vikas Marg road.

“There is always a scramble for parking space. So I don’t feel like taking my car out,” says local resident Puneet Arora, adding that Delhi Metro is the best that has happened to this thickly populated trans-Yamuna area. 

He says on the day of the weekly market, it becomes nearly impossible to negotiate through narrow lanes.

Others argue that parking is a perennial problem due to a whole range of issues. Residential buildings in this unorganised colony have given way to rows of shops and showrooms, leading to reckless and haphazard parking. 

Civic failures like absence of parking lots and lack of enforcement of building by-laws fuel parking and traffic congestion. 

Even though it is mandatory for all multi-storeyed commercial buildings to provide parking space, not many comply in Laxmi Nagar. 

The area is also home to students and young working professionals who are looking for affordable rents and proximity to Noida and central Delhi. 

“If there is an increase in vehicles, it will first show up here,” says Arvind Kumar, an IT professional in Noida.

When Kumar bought a new car, he had to pay a premium on his rent to get space in his landlord’s garage. 

Most the tenants who are not so lucky resort to the trial-and-error method.A newbie vehicle owner or a new entrant to the colony cramped for parking space has to start by finding vacant space. 

“There are unwritten rules of parking. One can’t park in front of somebody else’s gate. If somebody has been parking his car at a particular spot, you are not meant to park there,” Kumar says, claiming that more than half of arguments on the streets of Laxmi Nagar owe their origin to parking problems. 

And when there is absence of parking space on streets, residents are forced to park their vehicles on pavements. 

One such popular parking stretch is between Laxmi Nagar and Nirman Vihar Metro stations. 

Even when all the shops and showrooms close down on this stretch, scores of  cars and motorcycles can be seen parked in rows of disarray. 

“There is no regulation on parking here,” says Sunil Singh, a store owner, explaining it gets difficult for his customers to park their vehicles. 

When residents don’t have a roof under the garage, they often invest in custom-fitted covers and safety gadgets for their vehicles. 

But often they are no guarantee. 

“My friend’s neighbour deflated the tyre of his new car because he had moved an inch or two towards his parking space. And sometimes, you never know who hit or scratched your car,” says Kumar.

Some residents point towards yet another problem. 

They say after lights out, the roofs of cars and motorcycle seats become resting place for stray dogs.

With the growing number of vehicles in the city, finding a safe spot has become an urban nightmare. 

Laxmi Nagar represents just that.

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