Even as authorities mull the possibility of a congestion tax being levied on motorists, the Mumbai traffic police have written to the civic body to create at least 5,000 public parking facilities across the city to decongest roads.
The traffic police have suggested that the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) consider constructing underground parking facilities at 300 maidans (grounds) in the city and its suburbs, Dr BK Upadhaya, joint commissioner of police, traffic, told HT on Tuesday. These include the iconic Oval and Cross Maidan in south Mumbai, where the problem of parking is acute.
“We have also asked the BMC to consider constructing multi-storey facilities at the parking lots run by them,” said Upadhaya.
Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis had recently said more public services need to be created before levying a congestion tax on citizens. Improving public transport could be one such step.
According to Qaisar Khalid, additional commissioner of police, traffic congestion is acute in commercial and business districts, as well as market places. In a survey conducted by the traffic police, before sending the proposal to civic officials, it was found that at least one maidan is available within a 1-3-km radius of each of these locations. “Motorists can park their vehicles in the underground parking lots and either walk up to their destination, or use public transport,” said Khalid.
While welcoming the proposal, Nitin Dossa, chairperson of the Western India Automobiles Association, said the idea needed to be backed with better public transport.
“It’s a good move, but motorists must find efficient public transport once they come out of the parking lot. Otherwise, they will end up chasing taxis or wait indefinitely for buses,” he said.
Further, Dossa said instead of Oval Maidan, which is a heritage ground, authorities should consider Azad Maidan for such an underground parking facility. “These two grounds [Azad Maidan and Cross Maidan] can provide parking for at least 10,000 vehicles,” he said.
In an attempt to decongest market places, the traffic police have started strict implementation of parking rules for spaces near hotels and restaurants. “In a few cases, the designated parking spots for hotels and restaurants have been allotted to laundries and shops. This must stop and the parking policy must be strictly followed,” said Khalid.?