Illegal parking has become prevalent in the capital simply for lack of enforcement of traffic rules, intensifying gridlocks and causing nuisance to pedestrians and commuters, according to experts.
They suggested coordinated efforts by the authorities concerned, including Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP), two city corporations and Rajuk, to mitigate the problem. Also, people must be made aware of parking rules, they added.
The urban and transport experts also emphasised increasing number of parking spaces in the city as they think it is not possible to eliminate the menace without authorised parking space.
Talking to the news agency, Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) Mayor Sayeed Khokon, transport expert Prof Shamsul Haque, urban experts and Buet professors Mizanur Rahman and Sarwar Jahan observed that there is an apparent indulgence in unauthorised parking as it is not treated as a serious problem.
However, DMP Additional Commissioner (Traffic) Mofiz Uddin Ahmed said lack of parking space, not lack of law enforcement, is the major reason for the nagging traffic jam.
“We’re strongly enforcing law as nearly 150,000 cases have been filed on an average every month against those who flout traffic rules,” he said. The DMP official said they have already designated over 50 spots for on-street parking to ease traffic congestions.
He said they are also thinking about introducing an app-based digital parking service in the capital. “We’re now in discussions with the two city corporations and other authorities concerned to introduce it.”
Once it goes into operation, he said, private building owners will also be able to get registered with the app to rent out their parking spaces.
DSCC Mayor Sayeed Khokon said they, at a recent meeting of Dhaka Transport Coordination Authority (DTCA), formed a committee to get rid of the problem.
He said people’s awareness about parking rules alongside strong enforcement of law can help overcome the issue. “Our city corporation has two parking lots in Motijheel and New Market area, but they usually remain empty as people don’t deem it necessary to use those.”
Besides, Khokon said, they leased out some roads for on-street parking in consultation with DMP.
Prof Shamsul Haque of the Civil Engineering Department of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet) said a vehicle in its total life span remains parked for around 95 percent time.
“But our policymakers only think of making roads for vehicle movement. They ignore the issue of parking.”
He said lax implementation of law, inadequate parking facilities, poor traffic management, insincerity of the authorities concerned and lack of awareness among people are contributing to illegal on-street parking.
As Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (Rajuk) has utterly failed to enforce the building code, the transport expert said, mushrooming multi-storied commercial buildings, shopping malls, schools, colleges and hospitals without necessary parking facilities are aggravating the situation.
Haque said, the city corporations have some markets where there are no parking facilities. “When a regulatory body flouts rules, how will you force people to obey those?”
The city corporations, Rajuk and DMP need to work together to solve the problem, he stressed.
Sarwar Jahan, former professor of Buet’s Urban and Regional Planning Department, said the number of parking spaces available in Dhaka is significantly lower compared to the number of vehicles commuting in the city every day.
“Parking on streets remains largely unmanaged as people park vehicles such as buses, cars, covered-vans, rickshaw-vans, rickshaws and auto-rickshaws in any location or direction they want due to lack of awareness and enforcement of law,” he said.
Prof Mizanur Rahman, director of Buet’s Accident Research Institution (ARI), said all buildings, especially the commercial ones, must have necessary parking spaces.
Stressing the need for building multistoried parking lots, he said people should construct parking spaces for commercial purposes instead of building houses.