Merchants Blame Lack Of Adequate Parking Space For Loss Of Business

MG Road is no longer the shopping destination it once used to be, and merchants are blaming it on the ‘lack of adequate parking space’ for the loss of business. However, their demand to remove hand railings along the footpath and to allow entry of vehicles as a step to boost business meet with harsh criticism.

City-based think tank Centre for Public Policy (CPPR) is of the view that ‘pedestrianisation’ is the only way that remains for the trading community along all arterial roads including MG Road, Banjeri Road, Sahodharan Ayyappan Road and Kaloor-Kadavanthra Road.

“It is not possible for road owners and enforcement agencies to compromise on pedestrian safety and security by permitting entry of vehicles on footpaths and pedestrian zones. What is more important is to focus on pedestrianizing MG Road and provide adequate pedestrian infrastructure to encourage people to shop at this business centre,” said CPPR chairpersonD Dhanuraj,.

Inadequate parking spaces and valet parking facilities discourage customers from shopping on MG Road, feels the business community. The district administration, Kochi corporation and merchant community should come together to address the parking issue for reviving businesses. If motorists park on the sides of the roads, it would lead to congestion and traffic blocks, they say.

“Though arterial roads like MG Road and Banjerji Road witness heavy movement of traffic, very few motorists stop here for shopping. It is mainly because of poor parking spaces. Many restaurants and hotels, which used to do brisk business now wear a deserted look,” said an owner of a restaurant near Padma Junction.

The land being a precious commodity in Kochi corporation limits and neighbouring municipalities, even agencies like Kochi Metro Rail Ltd (KMRL) had a tough time identifying spaces for parking. This requires the intervention of the state government in helping the local bodies, particularly Kochi corporation in drafting a parking policy for the city.

Meanwhile, officials with Kochi corporation say that development of multi-level parking, identifying vacant spaces along the arterial roads or by lanes linking arterial roads and developing parking spaces could solve the crisis. “Merchants can come together to lease out vacant land in the vicinity. They can provide valet parking facility. In the case of land entangled in legal disputes, the district administration, Kochi corporation or Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA) can take an initiative to negotiate to reach an agreement for using this property for parking at least until the disputes are settled,” said a Kochi corporation official.

This news was published in The Times of India on August 27, 2019 Click here to read