Where can thousands of cars in space-starved Mumbai find parking? At the nearest housing society, if the Mumbai Parking Authority’s plan works. The newly-formed authority, under Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) parking policy, has identified nine housing societies close to commercial business districts — such as BKC — as well as areas with little or no space for parking. The idea is to get housing societies to lease out their empty parking spaces for public parking a few hours every day, in exchange for revenue from car owners. The nine housing societies are across the eastern and western suburbs, and south Mumbai. According to the latest available data, there were 248 private vehicles for every 1,000 people in Mumbai in 2017. This number could be more now. With no space in the existing parking lots, vehicles are parked on streets, causing traffic jams. To tackle this, the parking authority plans to use parking spaces inside housing societies that lie empty during the day. The authority will start talks with the societies next week. “We won’t force the identified housing societies to agree with us,” said an official involved in the plan. “We will start consultations next week. By the end of June, we hope many more societies will agree to come on board and share empty parking space for public parking.” The official, however, pointed out complexities in implementing the plan. Pricing, for instance, could be one issue: How much can housing societies charge for parking? Safety of the building and maintenance of the parking space could be other issues: If a car owner does not pick up his vehicle on time, who will tow it? “Many modalities and complexities will come up and need discussions,” the official said. “For example, a society agrees to volunteer five parking slots every day between 10am and 6pm, when their garage or space is empty. But, if the person who parked the car does not return by 6pm, who will tow it? Can a fine be levied in such cases? These are questions we will have to answer to housing societies.”Vinod Sampat from the Co-operative Societies Residents Welfare Association said roping in housing societies is a good idea, but asked if it was practical. “There are so many issues when it comes to security and privacy of a society that will be disturbed if it is opened up for public parking. Also, why will societies volunteer for it? The revenue from the parking is not a strong enough reason,” he said.The MPA has urban planners traffic management and mobility solutions experts as members.