The national capital may witness the long-awaited parking reforms next year with the municipal agencies drawing up plans to streamline vehicular parking across the city, beginning with residential areas situated close to 100 congested markets. At the moment, the plan is being implemented on a pilot basis at three locations.

Haphazard parked vehicles encroach road space leading to traffic snarls and are a major cause of congestion in residential areas where they also occupy spaces marked for pedestrians. Fights over parking in residential areas are common, sometimes leading to violence and injuries.

To deal with the issue, the Delhi government had notified the Delhi Maintenance and Management of Parking Places Rules, 2019 on September 23 . Under it, municipal agencies will make parking management area plans (PMAPs) that are area specific solutions.

Lajpat Nagar-III in South Delhi, Krishna Nagar in east and Kamla Nagar in North Delhi will be the first three localities where these rules will be implemented by December end. Areas which are abutted by popular markets such as Malviya Nagar, Rajouri, Janakpuri, Nehru Place, Bhikaji Cama Palce, Old JNU campus, Vasant Kunj, GK-1, GK-2, Aurobindo Place, Laxmi Nagar, Geeta Colony, Gandhi Nagar and Kirti Nagar will be next in line.

The South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC), which is implementing the Lajpat Nagar-III project, has started to prepare the PMAP for residential areas around 10 popular markets.

Prem Shankar Jha, deputy commissioner, remunerative cell at SDMC, said, “Nearly 60-70 PMAPs will be prepared in the next few months. We have prepared for Aurobindo Place, GK-1 and GK-2, which will be implemented after Lajpat Nagar-III. We are preparing the plan for 10 other areas such as Malviya Nagar, Janakpuri.”

For the first time in Delhi, the policy aims at regulating parking in residential areas. But in the initial stage, the civic agencies have decided to take up colonies abutting popular markets. “Residential neighbourhoods face parking problem due to nearby markets, which are congestion hot spots,” said Jha.

For instance, the SDMC is working on the plan for Aurobindo Place, which includes seven markets and two residential neighbourhoods. These markets are Gulmohar Park, Yusuf Sarai, Uphar Cinema, Green Park, Aurobindo Place, Hauz Khas and NIFT. Residential areas such as Green Park and some parts of Hauz Khas fall under the influence zone, so these have been included.

Parking plans in residential areas near popular markets will be taken on priority since due to lack of parking lots, shoppers tend to park vehicles in the lanes of residential neighbourhoods.

“There is anyway a parking crisis in residential colonies. But parking spilling over from commercial areas adds to their woes. A detailed parking plan will ensure that the parking space in colonies is used mainly by residents and also make sure that there is a clear space available for emergency vehicles and pedestrians,” said Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director-research and advocacy, Centre for Science and Environment.

PMAP is aimed at improving availability of on-street and off-street parking and utilise road space for the convenience of users giving priority to pedestrians, cyclists, emergency vehicles and vending zone, officials said.

Anuj Malhotra, transport expert and knowledge partner to the Union home ministry, said, “In the absence of a parking policy people used to park anywhere they wanted. But PMAPs will demarcate parking areas after providing space for pedestrians and movement of emergency vehicles.” Malhotra is assisting the three civic bodies in formulating and implementing PMAPs for Lajpat Nagar, Kamla Nagar and Krishna Nagar.

In PMAP, an assessment of the parking demand and availability of space will be done after a detailed survey.

For instance, in Lajpat Nagar-III, the SDMC has identified authorised parking space for 1,850 vehicles where as there is demand for space to park 3,510 cars.

Similarly, in the Aurobindo Place parking plan, the study has shown that there is parking space for 1,061 four-wheelers and 505 two-wheelers in the seven markets, but the demand is more. “We are preparing a detailed plan for all the seven markets and colonies after consultation with RWAs and market association,” said Jha.

In Lajpat Nagar-3 residential colony, lane marking method is being adopted to demarcate parking areas.Identified areas will be earmarked with yellow paint. There will be colour-coded stickers – red, blue and yellow — for vehicles will be allotted to the vehicles of the residents, visitors and those working in the area.

Karol Bagh in central Delhi was the first area to have a parking area management plan, said Malhotra. Pedestrianisation of Ajmal Khan Road, which has been done by the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC), has made the area more pedestrian-friendly.

Varsha Joshi, commissioner, North corporation, said area parking plans will help in addressing region wise parking problems, be it residential or commercial.

“Parking plans are to be made in all 104 wards. We first want to have a foolproof mechanism to regulate on-street parking before making parking plans,” she said. The corporation will take up parking plan in residential area only after consultation with the respective Resident Welfare Associations.

In the draft proposal, which was presented to Delhi lieutenant governor Anil Baijal last year, there was a provision to introduce parking charges in residential area. But the Delhi government removed the provision while notifying the parking rules.

Transport experts say that parking should be priced in residential area for effective implementation of the rules. Roychowdhury said, “The Delhi government didn’t want parking to be chargeable in residential area. But its is very important. Parking on public land shouldn’t be free. The government should issue parking permits now which can be later made chargeable.”

Transport minister Kailash Gahlot had sought deletion of the residential parking fee clause saying it was a “sensitive issue” on which several RWAs had expressed concerns on giving local bodies “unilateral powers” for levying parking fees. “The old draft policy stated that the municipal corporations would collect the proposed fee for parking in residential colonies. It was not justified as despite paying a fee there would be no guarantee about the safety of one’s car,” Gahlot said.

The minister said the notified policy has adequate measures to organise and demarcate parking lots in both commercial and residential areas as well as penalties to prevent haphazard parking.

He said the civic agencies are already over burdened with hundreds of parking lots which they have to maintain. “Adding an extra burden of residential colonies with the same amount of staff would have only meant all the money collected in such colonies would go unspent,” he said.

To meet the demand for parking space, the policy has provision for new projects (residential, commercial or institutional) to have “at least 50% to 100% of equivalent car space as per the MPD” which can be sold or disposed of as independent unit.

“A shared parking facility could preferably be a detached parking structure (multi-level or stacked) within the same plot (residential or commercial) having separate entry/exit,” the policy reads.

Transport experts say that this will help in effective utilisation of off-street parking space.

Roychowdhury said, “This provision will unlock the parking space, which often is lying vacant in commercial or residential buildings. For instance, in Kalkaji, the multilevel parking is used by residents.”

For additional vehicles in residential colonies, civic officials said, on-street parking will be provided outside the colonies. In areas where there is an off-street parking facility (multi-level or stack parking) available, it can be used by neighbouring residential colonies.

The parking policy says that before permitting any on-street parking, the space provided within the building for parking vehicles should be fully utilised.

Aman Rajput, additional commissioner, East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) said the parking policy clearly says that on-street parking should not be allowed at least up to 25 meters from intersections on each arm of the road. It mentions that in case the metro station is at walking distance, then Multi-Modal Integration guidelines have to be implemented.

“It should be allowed in such a way that conflict between parking, walking and cycling remains minimal. In the policy, it has been recommended to give priority to non-motorised vehicles in the on-street parking spaces,” said Rajput, nodal officer of Krishna Nagar pilot project.

Experts say that RWAs will play in major role in effective implementation and monitoring of the policy in residential colonies. “In several parts of the city, the RWAs are actively managing the parking. From identifying on-street parking space to giving stickers to authorised vehicles in residential areas to ensuring the on-street space is not misused, RWAs have a crucial role to play,” said Roychowdhury.

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