Pune civic activists oppose free parking in malls

Civic activists are opposing the PMC s directions to malls and multiplexes to not charge customers and visitors a parking fee.

Civic activists are opposing the PMC s directions to malls and multiplexes to not charge customers and visitors a parking fee.

Irrespective of whether this order passes the legality test or not, this decision of the PMC is retrograde, and against the principle which is being widely adopted by progressive cities that parking for vehicles should not be free, said Prashant Inamdar of Pedestrians First.

It is a well accepted fact that the urban traffic problem is caused by the movement and parking of an excessive number of private vehicles on the road, which has now increased beyond the capacity of infrastructure that can ever be provided. There is, hence, an urgent need for implementing various measures to discourage and reduce the use of private vehicles, he said.

He added that one such important measure is regulation of parking by imposing restrictions on road-side parking, and charging a parking fee wherever parking is permitted.

It is also to be noted that parking of vehicles needs certain space, and it is logical that the owner of the vehicle pays rent for the use of that space, which he/she does not own, whether it is on the road side or on any parking lot. Vehicle owners have to pay for parking space even in housing complexes where they own an apartment.

Another activist, Shridhar Chalka, said that malls and multiplexes should be required to take steps to provide facilities for customers who visit without using their own vehicles.

Bus stops should be provided in the premises. If it is possible, driveways should be provided for buses to enter and exit. If not, buses can halt on the adjacent road. Rickshaw stands should be provided.

Inamdar said that footpaths and road crossings outside malls and multiplexes should be managed for the benefit of customers who come by bus or walk.

Wardens should be posted to assist the bus commuters and pedestrians. PMC and police should put these conditions while approving plans and issuing licenses.

According to Pedestrians First, to avoid excessive charges, there should be a reasonable limit specified on the parking fee, for example, Rs 10 for two-wheelers, Rs 20 for small cars and Rs 40 for large cars.

Malls and multiplexes should be given the option of refunding the parking fee paid against purchases made. To avoid traffic congestion in their vicinity, there should be No Parking signs on the adjacent road, up to a distance of 25 metres on both sides of the entry and exit gates, Pedestrian First suggested to the PMC and traffic police.