With ever increasing population, popping up of new commercial areas and influx of rural population in search of better life, the federal capital requires a multi-dimensional approach with creative solutions to successfully address its huge parking issues.
By engaging independent, interested parties to build and operate parking facilities, this ever compounding problem could be rationally addressed to meet the future requirements.
Islamabad Chamber of Commerce President Muzamil Hussain Sabri said on Thursday that the traders had some very productive solutions to the issue and were ready to invest their money and time if authorities concerned would give them space to work.
He said the traders were well conscious of the issue as it was affecting their business and they were exploring opportunities to construct multi-storey parking facilities with the consent of Capital Development Authority (CDA).
The problem, however, is not limited to commercial areas but schools, hospitals and other institutions also face similar issues.
“Parking is more difficult than the actual assignment or activity you visit an area for; you will have to keep in mind car theft if your vehicle is unattended or parked far away,” said Khurram, a visitor in Blue Area.
The schools, especially in the private sector, are located in the middle of the city’s busiest sectors and space for parking vehicles inside the schools is usually not available. People have to face a traffic mess outside these schools on a daily basis during opening and closing times as they don’t have any other option except to pick and drop their children on the road.
“Government’s metro bus initiative no doubt helped a lot but we need to come-up with more plans like that. At the moment there is a dire need to introduce a bus service from Rawat to Islamabad and vice versa to provide thousands of people a convenient travelling facility and an incentive for them not to bring their own vehicles to the city daily,” said Yasir Shah a resident of Sector F/10.
According to environmentalists, conversion of green belts into car parking areas was destroying the beauty of the capital, besides creating environmental issues which was not a rational approach to address the problem.
CDA spokesperson Ramzan Sajid said, “We have initiated new parking system to meet the challenge and multi-storey parking in F7 Sector is an illustration in this regard.”
He said that work was underway on the project and the southern side would be inaugurated in a few days while the northern side would also be made functional soon. He said the authority was aware of the issue and was actively working on the construction of parking plazas and exploring more places to tackle the issue once and for all.
An official of Islamabad Traffic Police (ITP) Rana Ishtaiq while giving their side of the picture said, “There is an engineering wing in ITP meant to give its recommendations and suggestions to the CDA before constructing any building or structure. But unfortunately our consent is not being taken into account, which is aggravating the situation.”
He said it was mandatory for every parking plaza under the rules to ensure the presence of a car parking facility.
He said that the ITP had to deploy additional staff during rush hours but it was not a solution to the overall issue and that a more comprehensive approach was required.
An Excise and Taxation official said that there were some 750,000 vehicles registered with the authority and the number was increasing day by day. It was important for the authorities to deal with the issue rationally, he said.
Only a couple of solutions are not enough to tackle the issue of parking in the federal capital. There is an urgent need to improve public transport system besides working on smart car parking techniques adopted by many developed countries. Laws are also required to be strictly implemented when the construction is initiated for commercial or even residential projects, where space for parking must be ensured.
The authorities concerned also need to take strict action against encroachments and presence of illegal commercial outlets in the residential areas.
Only with a transparent and a-corruption free system in place, a solution is possible for the problem. But that seems to be just a pipe dream at the moment.