After months of jostling for parking space, some relief came our way on Monday as the new paid parking contractor took baby steps towards converting all the 25 parking lots put under his command into smart parkings.
As the more than 300 odd parking attendants and supervisors, majority of them girls for a change (by design, for women empowerment, we are told), started taking positions at the designated paid parking lots across the city, things appeared to have moved for the better, but only marginally. For a first day, there was understandable confusion with the parking personnel raw and rusty, supervisors dazed and the hotheads among us refusing to be reined in.
PHOTOS BY: LIFE IN CHANDIGARH
As we drove around in various paid parkings in Sector 17 we came across young boys and girls unable to cope up with the speed required for dispensing tickets and retuning change. The supervisors appeared to be registering their cosmetic presence, not knowing exactly how the movement of vehicles was to be allowed – whether one-day or both ways. The ushers, posted at every short distance, did not know how they could insist on the vehicle owners or drivers not to park outside designated slots. They preferred to just back off in the face of hotheads either ignoring or threatening them.
The result was that the vehicles at many places were found parked in undesignated areas, hindering the passage of traffic. Seeing the parking attendants manning the parking lots, several vehicle owners and drivers chose to park on the roads, with the traffic police or tow away trucks nowhere in sight.
Which brings us to the conclusion that the entire effort at paid parking cannot be successful without initially the traffic police chipping in with their support. Till smart parking plugs in three-four months from now, vehicle owners and drivers need to get the message loud and clear that their illegally parked automobiles will be towed away for sure. The parking ushers also need to be sensitised how the parking outside of the designated slots, if at all, is to be managed without inconveniencing those who park in designated slots, and how people who do not fall in line are to be dealt. Ideally this exercise ought to have been undertaken as part of the contract the Municipal Corporation Chandigarh signed with the parking contractor.
Another issue is that while the contractor is under obligation to man the showcase new multi-level parking lot of the Corporation, apart from the 25 other paid parking sites, the previous underground parkings in Sector 17 and 8, now in a poor state of maintenance, need also to be put to optimum use. With the Monsoons season round the corner, the Corporation needs to urgently improve drainage in the basements and carry out routine maintenance works to ensure that the investment and prime space locked up in the underground parkings are not wasted any more. Right now these parkings do not appear to be anybody’s baby and are not even on the radar of the Corporation engineers.
The new multi-level parking and the old basement parkings have to be put to optimum use to justify the investment, and it has to be rubbed in on all who park their vehicles in the sector. For this, zero tolerance approach to illegal parking has to be followed both in letter and spirit.
Happy Parking !!