Parking the motorised vehicles, especially private cars, in Dhaka poses a serious challenge. Designated public parking places in Dhaka are very inadequate. While the number of private cars is rising every day, space for parking actually gets reduced. It is a major reason for cars and motorcycles frequently occupying footpaths and roadsides. Such illegal parking causes problem for pedestrians as well as traffic movements.
Though most of the houses and apartments in Dhaka have required car parking facilities for the residents, a large number of offices, business entities, hospitals, educational institutions and shopping malls have very limited space for car parking. Due to unregulated expansion, a large number of commercial high-rise buildings even don't have minimum car parking spaces. So, parking of cars on nearby roads and footpaths create undue traffic congestions. In some places, a few minutes' wait for only drop-off and pick-up is enough to halt traffic movements.
To overcome the problem, city corporations and traffic police department designated a number of areas on different roads in the city as 'on-street parking spots.' But this is a temporary measure and not an efficient solution at all. By allowing parking on roads and streets, the authorities are ultimately encouraging everyone to park their cars, motorcycles and other motorised vehicles on roads.
One solution of the problem is multilevel parking facility in different commercial areas. Such a parking lot is available in Dilkhusha commercial area. A few days ago, the Dhaka Metropolitan Police launched a digital multilevel parking in its central command and control centre building in Dhaka. It can accommodate only 36 cars instead of only six cars in its ground parking lot.
In fact, Dhaka needs a good number of multilevel paid parking facilities. After parking their motorised vehicles in nearby multilevel parking lots, people may take a walk to go to their desired destinations. They will be charged for parking their cars with adequate security.
It is also true that there is very little room in Dhaka to construct a number of multilevel parking infrastructure as land is scarce and price is very high. So, parking charge will be quite high ultimately. But, parking can't be free and unregulated at all. No matter, who are using cars and motorcycles have to pay for parking.
Again, some multilevel parking spots are not enough to address the growing problem as rise in cars and motorcycles are quite fast. On an average, at least 40 new cars are pressed in to service daily in Dhaka. The number for motorcycle is 234. It is impossible to construct parking facilities accordingly.
Thus the ultimate solution lies on introduction of better, decent and efficient public transport system. It will ultimately reduce the necessity of private cars and motorcycles. It is important to keep in mind that there is no piecemeal solution to traffic conundrum. As private cars and motorcycles are associated with door-to-door convenience, adequate and efficient public transport like buses and metro rails can provide better alternatives to cars.
So, there is need for a multi-prong as well as integrated approach to address the problem of car parking in Dhaka. High charge for parking and high penalty for unapproved parking will work if there are appropriate alternatives.
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