No more free parking in Bengaluru

Though watered down, the new parking policy does seem set to streamline the process. The first step would be to start charging for parking.

In its March meeting, BBMP Council approved the new parking policy which would allow BBMP to collect parking fee from citizens. As per this policy, parking will be charged across the city, and parking lots will be set up in all areas. The policy aims to encourage public transport and reduce land use for parking.

BBMP is now waiting for a study commissioned by state government’s DULT (Department of Urban Land Transport). This study will look at public transport and existing parking availability, identify parking demand and also areas where parking lots can be set up. DULT has commissioned the study to a consultancy named TTIC (Traffic and Transport Institute and Consultancy) and expects it to be completed in eight months.

Prime land in the city is being wasted due to unregulated parking, says the parking policy. Pic: Navya P K

“BBMP can just start off with nominal charges for parking rightaway. DULT is only commissioning the study. BBMP has also asked our help in framing the bye-laws to implement the policy,” says a senior official of DULT, on condition of anonymity.

Basavaraj Kabade, Executive Engineer at BBMP’s Traffic Engineering Cell, says that parking fee will be charged in CBD (Central Business District) areas initially. “Once DULT frames bye-laws, we will make recommendations on it. It is then sent to the Council and then state government, for approval. We may start implementation within the next six months,” he adds.

The draft policy, which BBMP Council had partly approved, was made by DULT. The draft had stringent provisions, many of which were rejected by BBMP Council. For instance, the provision that parking fee during peak hours should be higher than that during non-peak hours, was not approved. DULT says that the policy as approved by Council can be implemented now, and can be improvised and made more stringent later.

DULT had also suggested differential pricing for A, B and C zones which are defined as per Revised Master Plan (RMP-2015). According to RMP, ‘A’ zone comprises areas within inner ring road, ‘B’ zone has areas between inner and outer ring roads, and ‘C’ zones comprise areas beyond outer ring road. While A zone has the most frequent public transport, C has the least; hence the idea that the parking controls and rates should be higher in A, and lesser in B and C zones.

The idea of differential parking has been trashed for now; fee for on-street parking is to be the same across the city. C K Ramamurthy, who was the Chairman of BBMP Town Planning Committee when the policy was approved, says that the provision was removed so as not to inconvenience public.

DULT says that the zoning will still determine how parking infrastructure is developed. “For example, ‘A’ zone has more vacant land for parking and good public transport coverage; hence the demand for parking areas maybe lesser here compared to B and C. But if the study shows that extent of each zone has to be changed (for eg., to include an area in A zone which is not currently part of it, but shows its characterists), we will recommend that,” says the DULT official.

The policy suggests setting up parking lots in vacant land and basements, Multi-level Car Parking (MLCPs) and mechanised parking lots. Both MLCPs and private bus stands may be built in Public Private Partnership (PPP) model; parking rates in MLCPs will vary because of PPP model. Truck terminals will be built in outskirts so that trucks are not parked in highways. A list identifying roads where parking is allowed, and those where it is banned, will be made.

Here are provisions approved by Council:

  • Parking will not be free both on street and off street (vacant plots, basement parking, MLCP etc).
  • Parking lots with parking meters, sign boards and safety standards will be set up across the city.
  • They will have 10% space allocated for bicycles, 25% for two-wheelers, and separate slots for disabled people.
  • Fee will depend on reason for parking, duration of parking, land price etc. (for eg., rates for on-street parking will be higher compared to off-street parking)
  • If office goers or shopkeepers are using a parking lot regularly, they can hire it on monthly basis. In areas where parking demand is high and public transport is good, pricing will be on hourly basis. In other areas, monthly rent can be paid.
  • On-street parking will be allowed for short durations only, such as for shopping, transporting items etc. Heavy vehicles cannot park on roads.
  • Penalty for illegal parking will be increased. Traffic police will continue to collect penalty, and will monitor parking violations with CCTVs.
  • Park and ride facility will be set up at main transport hubs.
  • Auto stands will be set up near parking lots and these will operate within fixed timings.
  • Reduce land use for parking; create Multi Level Car Parking (MLCPs) in buildings instead.
  • Cycle racks will be set up near parks and playgrounds to encourage cycling.
  • If a road is wide, parking will be allowed in more than one lane. Else, only the right side of the road will have parking lots. In one-ways too, parking will be allowed in one side only, mostly right side.

Here are aspects of the policy that were rejected:

  • Different pricing for peak hours and non-peak hours.
  • People who are buying new vehicles should provide proof of parking at the time of vehicle registration. This was rejected as owners might register vehicles in RTOs outside the city, making the rule ineffective. DULT says that the number of new vehicle registrations in the city has been coming down anyway.
  • Congestion tax will be part of parking fee on select busy corridors.
  • In ‘A’ zone, vehicles cannot be parked for more than two hours
  • Vehicles cannot be parked outside houses and offices (on the streets).
  • Landowners can lease, sell or rent their properties as parking lots, and will be compensated at market rates.
  • Those who have no parking space at home can park their vehicles in designated empty plots at night.
  • In mixed (residential plus commercial) zones, the same parking area can be shared by different establishments. For example, the parking area of a restaurant may not be full in mornings, and hence office goers can use it then. Office parking lots which will be empty by evening, can be used by shoppers.

Comments:

  1. Vaidya R says:

    So BBMP corporators decided they wanted in on the illegal fees we’ve been paying to touts all along to park in the city! What took them so long?!

  2. Jaya prakash S says:

    SO BBMP WANTS TO MAKE MONEY AS ALSO TOUTS WHO WILL HAVE A FIELD DAY TO SHARE THE BOOTY WITH BBMP

  3. Vishwas says:

    Parking should not be free, full stop. Street parking should not be Free as it is an encroachment of public space. A good first step is to start charging people who park overnight on streets. Only when parking is not free, is when private entities can fill the demand for paid parking. This will also have the benefit of people having to account for parking costs when buying a new vehicle. And this can reduce congestion and encourage use of public transport in the long run. However all of this has to be coupled with a reliable and effective public transport system.

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