Parking nightmare in Jayanagar

Parking nightmare in Jayanagar

Cars can’t enter the shopping complex without getting dents and scratches, and illegal shops are bigger than legal ones

Big cars struggle to enter the parking area. They have to reverse twice or thrice before they can turn.

The newly constructed block of the iconic Jayanagar shopping complex is an embarrassment to a city that once prided itself on urban planning and design.

The basement has three levels and could have accommodated parking of hundreds of cars, but the narrow access ensures that no car can enter the space easily.

Illegal shops have come up in the upper basement with the full knowledge of the BBMP, the custodian of the complex.

Regular visitors say they find it hard to turn their cars into the basement car park. No vehicle has left the complex without a scratch or dent, they say. 

‘Doesn’t look safe’

Shopkeepers have their own list of woes. They say business is dull because customers don’t enter the basement, fearing for their safety. Civic activists say poor engineering is to blame for the serial inconveniences at what was once a well-designed shopping complex.  A senior BBMP official who sits in the revenue office on the first floor of the complex says the new block houses 200 shops in the ground, first, second and third floors.

“Each shop measures six feet by six feet. The fourth and fifth floors are reserved for a ‘Janata Bazaar’ and the sixth for a private bank,” he explains.

In reality, illegal shops thrive in the basement, and are bigger in size than the newly constructed legal ones.

“These shopkeepers are temporarily housed in the basement. They earlier did business from sheds around the complex building. They had got a stay order against our efforts to vacate them,” the official says. Another senior BBMP engineer told Metrolife the design and construction violate basic principles of the National Building Code.

“The car park is planned on the number of visitors. This estimate is what is converted into the built-up area. And the surface parking is directly proportional to the setback. But these things have not been properly factored in,” he explains.

The shopkeepers who have occupied these shops in the basement complain about poor business.

Sumeresh, who sells women’s inner wear, says, “People don’t know that there are shops in the basement and hardly come here. We pay a monthly rent of Rs 10,000 to the BBMP. I return home empty-handed on most days.”

Sudha, who also runs a legal shop in the basement, says women are scared to come to the basement because it is not well lit. “I have been doing business in this complex for 30 years and the crowds have never been this sparse. We used to close by 11 pm earlier but now we leave at 8 pm,” she says.

Parking in the complex is a daily nightmare, says Sayed Fairoz, a driver who frequents the complex. “You can never leave without scraping the wall. Today, I had to reverse my car several times before I could get into the basement parking.”  The parking attendant says about 22 cars can be parked at a time. “It costs Rs 3 to park for an hour and an additional Rs 20 for each subsequent hour. It is true that the passageway is too narrow,” he says.