AHMEDABAD: What would you like to have in front of your house? A public parking space or a public park? What would you prefer to have at a city center like Teen Darwaja vendors and pedestrian jostling with vehicular traffic, or a quiet place with benches to enjoy an evening?
The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation can well seek answers to these local issues in a global study on parking trends being carried out by the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) which was the technical advisor for city's BRTS project.
Michael Kodransky, 30, global research manager at the ITDP in New York, is in the city to work on a comparative study on global parking trends. The study focuses on best policies to tackle parking issues. It will also encompass Chennai and Pune in review. ITDP is an international organization working with cities to promote sustainable and equitable transportation.
Kodransky visited Ashram Road, CG Road, Walled City areas and took a ride on BRTS on Tuesday, to get an overview of the city. "When the city is in its developmental state, it is the best time to have glitches ironed out and plan for the future. What we see in cities of US and Europe is afterthought in which they have taken a number of measures to ensure better living condition. What I see here is lack of public places where people can hang out without fear of speeding vehicles," he said.
Kodransky had recently prepared a report on Europe's parking conditions called 'Europe's Parking U-turn: From Accommodation to Regulation'. He discussed at length that parking policies are not only about controlling the vehicle flow. It is also about controlling carbon emission, ensuring clearer town centers, integrating various modes of transport and better living.
"What I see here surprises me as almost the world over, there are no free parking spaces. You cannot park your vehicle on the road and go shopping. You have to pay hefty sum to use that space that might otherwise fetch high commercial returns. We need to make people pay to use the roads when we find that the roads report regular clogging. How come cars become more important than people? Several cities are bringing down multi-storey parking spaces to discourage car users," he said.
He added that planners also need to strengthen public transport. Talking about the life cycle of a city, he cited example of Guangzhou of China. "It started off with building flyovers and widening city roads to make ways for cars from a domain of bicycles. It resulted into influx of too many cars affecting the urban fabric. But now, the authorities are prioritizing investments in integrated transport system like BRTS, cycle sharing facilities, green-ways and world-class public spaces and also pricing parking especially in heritage areas.Today, it has one of the best systems in the world where people can hop from BRTS to metro to cycle sharing with an ease of smart card," he said.
On closing note, he said that Ahmedabad can improve on its present condition by re-evaluating its building regulations related to parking provisions and enforcement system.