Well over a year ago the Dhaka Transport Coordination Authority (DTCA) approved a proposal to set up 64 parking places in the capital. The decision that came in a meeting chaired by the road transport and bridges minister did inspire hopes for the city dwellers and all concerned about the move -- a remarkable one indeed -- to address the menacing vehicular gridlock. Until now the decision is yet to see any progress for reasons best known to the authorities.
It may be recalled that the decision to develop sufficient parking facilities in the capital came following the failure of the transport law introduced some time back. In fact, it is primarily the absence of legal parking facilities, not only in the capital but in all major cities of the country, that proved to be a major deterrent to implementing the law. Surprising as it is, the transport law that among others is meant to come down strongly on illegal parking of vehicles did not consider this crucial aspect as a prerequisite for rendering the law meaningful. What eventually happened was that the unworkable circumstances caused largely by the absence of legal parking lots made implementation of the law difficult, even impossible. So, as a recourse to freeing the city streets of unauthorised parking, legal parking facility was considered a solution. Unfortunately, like many of the government decisions, this, too, appears to have been shelved. The decision for setting up 64 parking hubs was accompanied by few other decisions like freeing the footpaths and removing the inter-district bus terminals away from the city. Lately, however, there is a move to remove the bus terminals, but no one speaks of the parking facilities within the city. One may also recall that for setting up multi-storied parking spots, there was a decision that the Rajdhani Unnayan Kartipakkhya (RAJUK) would obtain clearance from the DTCA for the structures before approving the designs.
Now that nothing has progressed so far, the obvious question is-- what deters the plan from being implemented? Clearly, the primary task should have been selection of the sites through consultation with the key stakeholders and then make suitable designs---user-friendly and purposeful. The pandemic may be an excuse for not initiating the project, but that does not seem to be a reason as the authorities are not saying anything about it. It would be a misfortune if they have abandoned it.
The capital's vehicular movement and the associated problems are the most spoken issues. The authorities make stray moves which are no longer effective at all, and so unless purpose-serving plans such as the one of multi-layered parking spaces are in place, traffic management will continue to remain beyond repair. It is commonly believed that once the city traffic is disciplined, it will leave a sense of order in many other areas of human activity. Will the concerned authorities revisit the decision?