As the governing bodies try to promote Visakhapatnam as the futuristic ‘Smart Financial’ city, these mundane logistical problems like parking continue to linger on… Do we find a solution to this or accept it as ‘development’ like the metros did? Vizagites voice their opinions.
If driving on Visakhapatnam’s roads wasn’t bad enough, finding a suitable space for is a nightmare come true. As cars jam into every possible inch of space on either side of the road, people often have to travel an extra mile or even more just to find a spot. And while this can be irksome for the vehicle owner, it is worse for all those who are forced to either navigate amongst haphazardly parked vehicles or risk walking on the road itself. Many residential complexes do not have a visitor’s car parking space and consequently visitors are forced to park outside on the road. And with meagre spaces provided in buildings with restaurants and malls the roads become chock-a-block with parked vehicles. Last and definitely not least in the order of importance are the woes of the traffic policemen, who are held responsible for the chaos that erupts on the road. While major ‘no parking’ zones along major roads have been earmarked, with a lack of proper spaces, many people continue to park on either side of the road, often right under the ubiquitous ‘no-parking’ signs.
- Preferably opt for a mall or store that offers parking space or at least provides valet slot facilities.
- Better yet, use public transport
- Plan ahead and give yourself ten minutes to find a suitable slot.
- Go in for car pooling, not only does it reduce parking pressure, it’s great for the pocket too.
- Avoid rush hour travel, as that’s when the woes are heavy too. Know the zones where it isn’t allowed and find out areas where you can park instead.
I would first like to list out the problems that we face in Visakhapatnam. At a supermarket like Karachiwala people still park their vehicles on the road which is generally ignored by the traffic police. On Sundays, cars and bikes are parked on the road at the AU gate (opposite CMR) even though there is parking space in the mall. Near Tenneti Park and Novotel, people park their vehicles on the road which it unsafe due to the sloping roads.
Few improvisations have been made; like in some areas, cars are not supposed to wait outside shops/ wine outlets. And autos are not allowed on the Beach Road on weekends, which is a good initiative. I have a few more suggestions on further improving Vizag’s issues:
- Convert some of the open areas near the Beach Road for parking
- Implement smart pricing for all spaces which encourages long term parkers to park in less desirable locations, reserving convenient spaces for short term visitors.
- Similar pricing across areas, so that an individual chooses the space that is closest or most convenient. Studies show that the longer a person stays in an area, the farther they are willing to walk from a space to their ultimate destination.
- Prices should also reflect the demand on those spaces based on the time of day or special events in the area.
Visakhapatnam, the largest city in Andhra Pradesh is growing at a rapid pace in all aspects and the traffic is also increasing very rapidly. When a spot becomes difficult to find, is inadequate or inconvenient, the drivers find it frustrating and the parking tends to spillover. Consequently, inadequate parking supply creates problems to both users and nonusers. Visakhapatnam has more of on-street parking than off-street which causes severe problems for motorists, pedestrians, businessmen and policemen as well. The major areas where parking space is insufficient are Jagadamba junction, Siripuram junction, TSR complex, Dabagardens, Seethammpeta, Gajuwaka, Ramakrishna beach on weekends, and function plazas on wedding, reception and cultural program days. The list can go on. The 2-pronged approach to tackle this problem should include increasing parking space supply (multiple level parking places to be developed by the GVMC, business houses or developers) and sharing of parking facilities by different buildings in the area (shops, office complexes and restaurants). The parking facilities provided at these places should be priced reasonably so that they are not a burden on the users. Parking charges can be decided on a daily, weekly, monthly or yearly basis as it would allow the corporation on businessmen to maintain the same and provide hassle free parking to the users. Ironically, dealers of used cars in Visakhapatnam have enough space to display the cars earmarked for sale.
Prof. K Madhu