If you are visiting a shopping joint and do not find space to park your car, there’s always the option of either going to another place or turning back home.
But for residents of Delhi’s crammed colonies, there’s no such option. Come what may, they have to park their cars anyhow within that limited space. The result: Like the entire city, the residential areas are turning into big parking lots.
You will find cars on colony roads, by the roadside, under trees, in parks, over drains — almost everywhere, leaving the poor pedestrians gasping for breath.
The urban residential expansion has seen an exponential rise in Delhi but the corresponding increase in the supplementary infrastructure such as parking spaces has grown only at a negligible rate.
Single-floor houses have given way to multi-floor buildings. While more families moved into the same space meant for single families, the supporting infrastructure remained almost the same.
Yet every citizen dreams of owning a car in a city that will have 39 lakh cars by 2020 but no space to park them.
Hundreds of cars in colonies remain parked in lanes for about 90% of the time. There is no policy to put a premium on parking on this space actually meant for the free movement of people and vehicles between colonies.
Even parks have been encroached upon. Though the city has seen a growth of public transport in the past decade, especially the Metro, the government has failed to check the growth of private vehicles. A special task force appointed by the High Court and the Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) had recommended parking charges for on-street parking in residential colonies. But the proposal could not be implemented due to the lack of political will.
“The issue was discussed with the Lt. Governor. The parking charges had to be fixed according to the location. Hence, upscale colonies would have to pay more compared to other areas,” said Mukesh Yadav, spokesperson, south Delhi corporation.
“But the policy was not approved and is still pending,” he added.
Experts say that since parking space is a luxury, people should be made to pay for it. “Parking inside residential colonies is free, no wonder more and more people are buying cars. Why should it remain free? People should be made to buy this space,” said Bhure Lal, chairman EPCA, a Supreme Court-appointed body to manage parking policies in NCR.
Since it is a free-for-all on colony roads, disputes are common. Colonies such as Greater Kailash I, Green Park, Saket, Malviya Nagar, Lajpat Nagar, New Friends Colony, Mayur Vihar and others witness fights over parking almost every day. The unified MCD had tried to frame rules regarding availability of parking space within buildings. But it only applied to new constructions and was violated with impunity.
“Plots measuring 100 square meters and above need to create stilt parking in basements. But many people after getting the building plans sanctioned converted the stilt parking into rooms illegally,” said a senior official.
“We need a policy to discourage people don’t have a proper parking space from buying cars. We need to promote self-financing schemes for construction of multi-level parkings,” said a senior civic official.
East corporation commissioner S Kumaraswamy said, “Each member of a family wants to own a car. There is hardly any open space left in various colonies. The must be a clear policy to regulate parking in residential spaces.”