After much delay, the state government has come up with an urban parking policy to provide better and high-tech facilities and encourage use of public transport on the concept of 'park and ride'. However, the new policy —whose draft has been put on the website of the state urban administration department —comes with a rider.
The parking fee is likely to increase significantly, as the policy stresses that parking fee will be calculated on the basis of the cost of land where the parking lot is situated, importance of the area, timing, traffic density in the area and the duration of parking.
Apart from this, the policy also talks about levying congestion charges on private vehicles in the areas with highest traffic density. The new policy also envisages providing easy parking for physically challenged, basic amenities like drinking water facilities at parking lots and ban on on-street parking on roads less than 12 metre in width.
According to the new parking policy, the parking lots will be computerised i.e. the parking fee will be calculated through computers. The policy also talks of informing the commuters about the availability of the parking space through the SMSs and electronic display boards.
The new parking policy envisages creation of parking lots on modern lines, coming up with the inventory of the area to identify off-street and on-street parking locations, changes in the existing parking lots and many other changes.
Parking is a major issue in Bhopal because of high demand of parking due to concentrated commercial activities in the central area and general increase in number of vehicles. Haphazard and street parking reduces the effective road width available for the movement of traffic and creates problems for the commuters.
Once the policy is implemented, it will lessen the parking problems in urban areas. Apart from efficient management of the parking spaces, the new policy project will also lead to increase in the revenue generation and there will be a nodal agency to deal with parking issues at the state level.
Official on special duty (transport) in urban administration department Kamal Nagar told HT that after many inputs from various sources, the updated draft was sent to the state Urban Metropolitan Transport Council chaired by chief minister for final comments, following which the process would be initiated for implementation of the policy in the state.