CPPR Chairman Dr D Dhanuraj comment in a article published in The New Indian Express on the parking woes in the city. He comments ” The ideal solution would be to deploy hop-on and hop-off services like autorickshaws and mini-vans which can operate services from parking lots to shopping hubs. “

Image source: The New Indian Express

The last decade saw Kochi changing at many levels but what stood out was how the hustle and bustle slowly shifted base from MG Road stretch — Broadway and Convent Junction­­ ­— to the malls in and around Edappally.

Traders, who had set up shops, cite many reasons for their fall from glory, the major one being clogged roads and lack of parking space on MG Road.

According to them, parking woes are spelling doom for their business. “Broadway is plagued by unauthorised parking leaving little space for pedestrians while Convent Junction, once the fashion hub of Kochi, is getting narrower day by day, driving away shoppers,” said Sulfikar Ali, district secretary, Kerala Vyapari Vyavasayi Ekopana Samiti. He added, “Nobody wants to park their vehicles somewhere else and walk all the way to the shops. Authorities aren’t helping either. The corporation had initially promised two-wheeler parking under the Metro pillars but that didn’t materialise. When the plan to clear two-wheeler parking at Broadway came up, the authorities promised us the parking lot at Marine Drive. Though we were apprehensive, we decided to support it. But, that didn’t realise either,” added Sulfikar Ali.
 
Projects in a rut
After much hue and cry, the Kochi Corporation finally decided to take steps to alleviate the parking woes of the city by setting up a multi-level parking facility at Kacheripady. This was, however, included in the Cochin Smart Mission Ltd (CSML).

“The project will now be undertaken by the CSML. But, the corporation is doing its bit. Since there is little space left at  Broadway specifically for parking, we have identified land in the Market Road. Plans such as skywalks are also under consideration,”said Shiny Mathew, former Town Planning Committee chairperson.

Meanwhile, the multi-level car parking-cum-commercial complex at Kacheripady, undertaken by the CSML, is yet to take off. The project envisages maximum utilisation of ground space to cater to parking demand and can accommodate about 60 cars at a time.

As per the CSML spokesperson, 72 cents of land owned by the Corporation have been identified for the purpose. “We floated tenders twice but failed to zero in on the right agency. So, in a board meeting held recently, we decided to entrust the work with an accredited-agency under the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways. The feasibility study is under way,” the spokesperson said.

Vertical parking facilities  
While authorities are moving forward with multi-level parking complexes, town planning experts think such facilities are unlikely to help Kochi in the long run.Centre for Public Policy Research chairman D Dhanuraj said,  “How many vehicles can a multi-level parking facility accommodate? A meagre 50 or 60 cars. That is so negligible for such a high-investment project. The ideal solution would be to deploy hop-on and hop-off services like autorickshaws and mini-vans which can operate services from parking lots to shopping hubs. We had suggested the same to the government some years back. A circular service from MG Road Metro station connecting all major shopping spots was mooted.”

This news article was published in The New Indian Express on January 4, 2020 Click here read