Delhi has six million reasons to worry. That’s the number of vehicles jostling for ‘parking space’ in a city with only 200 parking lots.
The Capital has 20,000 equivalent car space (ECS) available — one ECS meets the parking needs of three cars — which means only 20,000 cars can be parked in the city at one time.
The only way the problem can be solved is by dedicating 45 million square meter of land to park the city’s six million vehicles. The said area is equivalent to 7,000 football fields or almost 10 per cent of Delhi’s total land.
Any semblance of a solution is further defeated when you consider almost a thousand new vehicles hit the streets on a daily basis.
So, you'd think the rise in parking facilities has been slow. But ‘slow’ isn’t really the appropriate word. In reality, Delhi’s parking space has been shrinking. Of the 800 surface parking lots (both legal and illegal) in early 2009, only 200 are left now. The illegal ones have been shut.
The delay in construction of 14 automated multi-level parking lots by Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) in areas such as Defence Colony, South Extension, Lajpat Nagar and Greater Kailash II isn’t helping matters.
“The multi-level parking lots will solve the problem only to an extent,” said P.K. Sarkar, professor, School of Planning and Architecture, department of transport planning.
“An integrated transport system is required to rid the city of its parking problem. Across the world, vehicular users leave behind their car at a particular point and use public transport. India needs a similar system.”
The civic agency has been coming up with a number of proposals, but most fizzle out at the proposal-stage itself.
“It’s a genuine problem. We’re trying to build various multi-level parking lots, but their construction takes time,” said MCD commissioner K.S. Mehra.
The people aren’t convinced.
“Till the time public transport does not become a viable option, people will be forced to rely on cars. It is the civic body's task to provide parking space to every citizen. Why are they not converting vacant land into parking space?” said Rajiv Kakaria, a member of Greater Kailash I resident welfare association.
“They have been sitting on these (parking) projects for years. It is high time that concrete plans are thought of and implemented. The parking policy the MCD has come up with seems myopic as it provides commercial space to private players inside the multi-level parking lot which will further increase the problem.”