Recovering parking spaces
Rajuk's planned drive to recover parking spaces from illegal occupation is no doubt a move that has been long overdue. Occupation of parking spaces for other purposes forces vehicles to park on the roads that are already cluttered with a much higher number of vehicles than they can actually accommodate.
Rajuk has done some preparatory work like reaching an understanding with the Dhaka Metropolitan Police that they will help implement its action against parking spaces rented out as shops or warehouses. It is mind-boggling statistic that at least one-third of the city streets and ninety per cent of the footpaths remain illegally occupied by parked cars, street vendors and piled up construction materials. So, the talk of containing traffic jam can only sound hollow without the freeing up of illegally occupied or used up parking spaces.
The traffic authorities have tried various tactics like dividing the roads into lanes and forcing ramshackle vehicles out of the street, but nothing has really worked. Now they are planning to evict illegal occupants of parking spaces and prevent unlawful use of the space. They can ill-afford any failure there. However, the success of the plan will depend on whether they can stop people from reoccupying the places within a week or so, after being evicted as they have done in case of previous eviction drives. In other words, the effort to keep the parking spaces clear must be a sustained one, and not a one-off affair having no real impact; even worse, a counter-productive effect. Nobody should get a waiver. For example, sparing important government buildings will set a bad example and call into question the purpose and impartiality of the whole scheme. Rather, the government owned structures should take the lead in making the parking spaces available for vehicles. The government has to take a neutral position in enforcing the rules.
Clearing parking spaces is a pressing need to ease traffic jam and also to bring back order to the streets. Occupied footpaths and parking spaces create serious problems for both pedestrians and vehicles, apart from being a major cause behind traffic jams.
The government agencies blame each other and complain that they do not have enough manpower and logistical support to accomplish the huge task of clearing parking spaces and footpath. Finally, they have also stated that they can make little headway without the political will on the part of the government. This is obviously something that the decision makers should take note of and make sure that the drive to improve the situation does not peter out because of lack of political will on their part.