Taxing search for parking on congested lanes

Taxing search for parking on congested lanes

Parking has emerged as a huge problem haunting two-wheeler and four-wheeler vehicle-owners in Bengaluru lately. Road infrastructure with adequate parking facilities has not kept pace with the rapid rise in population and obvious increase in vehicles.

If one looks around, it is tough to find many establishments with designated parking spots in place; neither is basement parking built, nor any space left. This results in vehicles parked right on the roads. It only gets worse with commercial establishments.

For instance, Chaitali Matkar, a software professional, had to bear damage worth at least Rs 35,000 because of her parking woes. Early this month, she had gone to a restaurant in KHB Colony that did not have a designated parking area.

She was forced to look for a tiny spot in one of the residential lanes where there were several other cars parked as well. But when she returned to her parked car after two hours, she found her vehicle in bad shape. Passers-by informed her that an SUV had scraped through the road damaging her car and several others. “It would not have happened if there were designated parking spaces. I prefer to travel by my Nano car. Even though it is a compact, tiny car, I have difficulty in finding a spot. As for the malls, they charge a bomb for parking. The whole infrastructure is in bad shape,” says Matkar.

Koramangala, Indiranagar and the surrounding areas have these residential spots which are often used for parking because there are no proper spots to park. “The authorities must understand that with increasing number of vehicles, parking spots must also be increased. Multi-storeyed parking places or systematic rules and regulations must come into place to help people as well as avoid corruption,” says Renuka Govind, a history teacher.

The lack of proper parking lots is glaring in the city's commercial hubs. Considering the number of shoppers who turn up at these places, citizens wonder why arrangements to accommodate the vehicles are not in order. This, they feel, has not only led to increased number of ‘illegal’ parking spots which are unsafe but also encouraged malls to levy hefty charges.

The dearth of parking slots  — residential or commercial — is an everyday cause of concern. “On one hand we have Brigade Road and Commercial Street having a huge number of footfalls on certain days, but no parking facilities to meet the needs of all. On the other hand, we have malls like Orion charging a bomb for utilising their parking spaces. But needless to say, the unofficial parking spaces are our go-to zones. The free on-street and footpath parking are preferred over having to set out on a never-ending search for a legal parking spot (sic),” says Kavya Baskar, a software engineer and resident of Okalipuram.

Preetham, a student, talks about how a lack of parking spaces means increased traffic jams as most of the vehicles parked eat into the roads. With no clear rules in place, the parking spots are more often a quick source of easy money rather than safety for parked vehicles. “Except government offices, I don't see many parking spaces. And if we do find, we are made to pay for it. It is okay until we figure out that it is of the 'parking at owner's risk' kind. I feel these people are just making easy money in the name of parking,” says Preetham.

He complains that at Metro station parking lots such as the one in Nayandahalli, commuters are made to pay by the hour. “But we are not assured of the safety of our vehicles. Lack of designated spots and rules mean haphazard parking, which in turn add to the traffic snarls,” he adds.

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