WHAT PARKING SPACE CRUNCH?

Of the 18 public parking lots BMC created by giving builders massive FSI incentives, 12 are shut as no contractor wants to run them. Four that are up and running have hardly anybody using them as Mumbaikars prefer to park on roads. Two more to open soon, but will they be used?
BMC can accommodate 11,086 vehicles, but occupancy is as low as 5%; contractors say not enough awareness created

Mumbai Mirror has been running a campaign to revive BEST buses and one of the solutions has been with the BMC all along. It can divert a majority of private vehicles parked on roads to 18 public parking lots in the city. This will not only allow dedicated bus corridors to be built, but also free up space for BEST buses to move smoothly.
The BMC launched its FSI-for-parking scheme a decade ago with the hope of clearing the streets of a majority of vehicles and clamping down on illegal parking touts in one stroke. But to date, only four of the 18 public parking lots that have been handed over to the civic body are functional. Worse, the occupancy of some is as low as 5 per cent.
These 18 lots can collectively accommodate 11,086 vehicles, but as of now, only 597 are using the facility.
Only the parking space on Altamount Road in Malabar Hill is running at full capacity. The others — on Hill Road in Bandra, Saki Vihar Road in Powai and near Topiwala theatre in Goregaon — see barely 25 vehicles a day.
As per Development Control Regulation 33(24), builders could get an additional floor space index of 4 if they constructed public parking lots on a portion of their land and handed them over for free to the BMC.
Seventy-one lots were approved, of which just 18 were given to the BMC in March 2017. Tenders for fiveyear contracts were called the following month, but only six received bids. Of these, two — in Parel and Santacruz — are expected to be functional in a month. One of the  2 
remaining public parking lots, in Apollo Mill Compound in Lower Parel, has been stayed by a court. The BMC’s roads and traffic department on May 15 sent a proposal to re-invite tenders for the other nine parking lots.
Last week, a delegation of contractors visited Amitesh Kumar, joint commissioner of police (traffic), requesting an increase in drives against illegal parking of roads. This, they hope, will compel more people to use the public parking lots. Kumar told Mirror that many Mumbaikars are unwilling to pay even nominal rates for parking. “They are habituated to parking for free on the roads. We will take out drives around the six public parking lots.”
Fees at the public parking lots range from Rs 10-40 for an hour. Street pay-and-park charges could be anywhere between Rs 75 and Rs 210.
Hussain Indorewala, assistant professor at Kamla Raheja Vidyanidhi Institute of Architecture, said public parking lots alone are not a solution. “Just because there is designated space, it doesn’t mean that people will go and park there. The FSI policy is simply a way of giving incentives to builders. It would have made more sense to have such parking lots around railway stations. Besides, all of these parking lots are not always welcoming of outsiders. There have been times when people have gone to park, but have been refused entry by contractors on flimsy grounds.”
Anil Kamble, who manages the parking space on Hill Road, said most vehicles are left for only an hour or two there. “There are no more than 25-30 vehicles in a day.” He said the revenue generated from parking fees barely covers the salaries of the four persons working on two shifts. “The low occupancy could be because the parking lot was opened only recently. We are hopeful that more car owners and drivers would use this facility in the coming days.”
Anil Joseph of Perry Road Residents’ Association in Bandra said the poor occupancy could be because the parking lot signage is not prominently displayed. “Also, not many people are aware of such facilities. The traffic department should tow away illegally parked vehicles on roads, which will force people to choose this public parking lot.”
Rakesh Tak, who manages the Goregaon public parking lot, wondered what’s stopping people from taking advantage of the facility. “They are willing to take the risk of getting their vehicle towed and paying a hefty penalty for illegally parking on roads, but can’t use designated parking lots.”
He said earlier, the business was good, thanks to those who visited Topiwala theatre. “But after the theatre began offering a parking facility, fewer people come here now. Only if we make Rs 10,000-15,000 a day, can we turn a profit.”
The two-level lot, which opened on February 12, doesn’t earn more than Rs 2,000/day. Manager Anil Kamble said the revenue barely covers workers’ pay.
This two-floor lot was also thrown open in February. Manager Rakesh Tak said after the theatre began offering a parking facility, fewer people come here now.


by https://epaper.timesgroup.com/Olive/ODN/MumbaiMirror/Default.aspx

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