Why do we find ourselves in such a jam today?

 Congestion fee, expensive parking must to make the roads less insane

Haven’t you noticed how increasingly difficult it is to cross the road? And aren’t you taking longer and longer to reach work or home or your friend’s wedding or wherever you’re headed to?

The Bangalorean’s road woes are increasing day by day with an average of 25,000 new vehicles rolling on the over-burdened city’s roads each month. This, when there has been no increase in the road space, and several proposals to decongest our roads remain on the backburner.

The awful numbers

As on December 2011, there were 40,86,705 vehicles registered in the Bangalore metropolitan area. Of these, 36 lakh are private vehicles (28.26 lakh two-wheelers and 7.8 lakh four-wheelers), accounting for 88 per cent of the total number of vehicles in the city.

The number of vehicles in Karnataka has crossed the one crore mark, and Bangalore alone accounts for 40 per cent of this. These 36 lakh private vehicles transport about half the travelling public in the city — occupying considerable road space. And, 6,000 BMTC buses and a lakh autorickshaws are forced to squeeze in and utilise the remaining road space.

According to traffic engineering expert M.N. Sreehari, there has been an alarming rise in the number of cars.

The number of four-wheelers is increasing at 15 per cent each year. This is almost the amount of vehicular growth in the national capital region — Delhi. This has to be arrested without any delay,” he says.

Two-wheelers too are not an exception; their number has increased from 9.94 lakh in 2000 to 28.26 lakh in 2011.

In cold storage

Stakeholders such as the Bangalore Traffic Police, Directorate of Urban Land Transport (DULT), Transport Department and traffic experts have proposed several measures to tackle the nightmarish congestion on our roads but they are still in the proposal stage, Prof. Sreehari said.

He said that the Government and other agencies should prioritise a multi-pronged approach.

The measures should include road pricing or congestion tax for private vehicles entering the central business district during peak hours; banning on-street parking or slapping a hefty parking fee; fully back the public transport system and levying heavy taxes on private vehicles.

Prof. Sreehari said a robust public transport system would drastically reduce the number of private vehicles on roads.

As Namma Metro is expected to take at least three years to deliver the expected results, the authorities should immediately augment Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) bus service.

Parking policy

DULT had formulated a draft parking policy for Bangalore two years ago, which recommended a hefty parking fee for on-street parking. But it is yet to see the light of day.

H.K. Sunil Kumar, a software engineer, who tracks developments in public transport field, said that the political regime appears to be apprehensive of public resentment if paid parking is re-introduced. This “public,” he said, is the 50 per cent of the population who use two-wheelers and cars even as the rest using public transport have to put up with traffic gridlocks.

Over to BBMP

DULT Commissioner V. Manjula told The Hindu the parking policy has to be approved either by the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Council or by the Government.

Though she was unable to quantify the relief on roads if on-street parking is heavily priced, she was confident that the pressure on roads would ease.

Off-street parking, in parking lots, should be made cheaper, she said.

With several deadlines missed, the BBMP Council is expected to take up the parking policy when it meets on March 3.

Deputy Mayor S. Harish said that there were certain issues in the draft policy which the councillors feel are difficult to implement such as fee for parking in front of vehicle owners’ houses, proof of parking space and the like.

The modified draft policy includes proposals to build multi-level parking facilities under public-private partnership.

This article was posted 3 years ago in The Hindu. Not much has really changed has it? It has become worse rather.

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