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Spaced out when it comes to parking

Delhiites across the city are facing a parking space crunch. However, the problem is acute in east Delhi, where only 40 legal surface parking lots exist. There is no multi-level parking lot in this part of the city.

delhi Updated: Sep 21, 2012 01:38 IST
HT Correspondent

Delhiites across the city are facing a parking space crunch. However, the problem is acute in east Delhi, where only 40 legal surface parking lots exist. There is no multi-level parking lot in this part of the city.

In fact, lack of parking space has spawned yet another problem in Mayur Vihar — that of vehicle thefts.

Finding no proper space to park her car, Radha Anand, a resident of SFS Apartments in Mayur Vihar Extension, had decided to park it outside a temple in the area. Later, she found that her car was gone. It’s been over three months and the police are yet to trace her vehicle. “Two more vehicles have been stolen from the same spot. Our gated society has seen a couple of vehicle thefts for the want of a designated parking space outside the colony. The area desperately needs legal parking lots,” said Anand.

Anand’s fate is shared by lakhs of residents of Mayur Vihar, Mayur Vihar Extension, IP Extension and Patparganj. While some prefer to pay extra money to secure a designated and safe parking space inside the society, others simply park their cars on footpaths. And there are many others who have put their decision to buy a new car on hold.

Indiscriminate parking in east Delhi’s Madhu Vihar market in IP Extension has added to traffic congestion in the area. Virendra Singh Gosain/HT photo

“We finally decided to start using the footpath outside our society as a parking space. Initially there was resistance from the police, but after we discussed the matter with the senior officers, the problem was sorted out. The police also understood our problem and allowed a limited number of cars to be parked on the footpath,” said Joyesh Sharma of Mayur Vihar Extension’s Kirti Apartments.

But the problem compounds when visitors drop in unannounced and are unable to find a space to park. Most societies do not allow visitors to park inside. "We don’t have space for ourselves, how can we allow visitors to park. There have been cases when the visitors’ car was towed away by traffic police. There are strict guidelines by the management not to allow any such cars," said Virender Arora, a resident of IP Extension. In view of the problem, many have now told their relatives and friends to call them before they come visiting.

In fact, some societies have now started charging parking fee ranging between Rs 50 and Rs 100 from visitors.

Initially, there were only 20 surface parking lots in east Delhi, catering to merely 2,000 vehicles. Though the East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) brought the number to 40 by converting illegal parkings into legal ones, a lot still needs to be done. Often, parked vehicles spill on to main roads, choking traffic, in popular markets during weekends.

“We are trying to bring the number of surface parking lots to at least 100. Already, we have brought this number to 40. East Delhi has been a neglected area and we are trying to change that,” said SS Yadav, EDMC commissioner.

Case Studies

Crossing the busy road a scary task

Balco market
Every time Neelam Gupta sends her son to buy something from the Balco market, she spends all that time worrying. Though the market is right across the road from her Kanungo Apartment, but the traffic situation is quite bad.
“At times, it becomes impossible just to cross the road. For my son especially — or for that matter, other children and senior citizens — just crossing the road is a task,” Gupta said.
Fulfilling all their daily needs, Indraprastha Extension’s Balco market is as old as the cooperative group housing societies of IP Extension. Selva Mary, a resident of Kallol Apartments, said, “Even when I walk or take a cycle rickshaw, the place is so congested most of the times that it is even hard to cross the road.”
Peak hour traffic during morning and evening is especially tough for those who drive to the market. “Parking vehicles becomes a major hassle, especially in the evening. And if I do get space for my vehicle, you never know when another vehicle will block my way from behind,” said Mohammad Sharafat, an area resident, who had driven to the market.
Balco Market Association has now deployed guards to manage traffic. “But sometimes, the new low-floor DTC buses slow down traffic and occupy a lot of space at the turns, resulting in jams in front of the market,” said association president Harish Choudhary.

Residents forced to park cars on footpaths

Mayur vihar
From converting footpaths into parking areas to paying some extra money, residents of east Delhi have been doing everything possible to ensure their vehicles are parked safely.

“I have to park my car outside the apartment as there is no space inside. Most societies in east Delhi were planned in 1980s and no one had imagined that we would require so much of parking space. Parking space is allocated on a first come-first serve basis,” said Mukesh Sharma, a resident of Parwana Apartments.

Almost every family in this society has two cars. “I recently bought a third car but as there is no space inside the society, there is no other option but to park it outside the society, which is not safe as car thefts are on a rise. Most societies have now begun charging R200 for parking a family’s second car. Only then is the apartment complex car sticker issued,” he said.

The society has no provisions for a resident’s third car. So most are forced to park their cars on footpaths.