Monday, 28 November, 2022

How long parking on roads to continue

A back-page photo published in this daily yesterday featuring a number of vehicles including trucks, pickups and covered vans parked occupying the Sat Rasta in the capital speaks volumes about the current state of the Sat Rasta Square to Tejgaon Rail-crossing road recovered from encroachment by the then Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) Mayor Annisul Huq in November 2015. The drive facilitated traffic movement and reduced traffic jams to a great degree on the road. However, Annisul’s massive work defeating all odds is going to waste as trucks return to the road.

Drivers now park their vehicles on the road, causing traffic congestion. In recent years, no one is seen taking initiatives to construct a central parking facility and evict encroachers from the road— a vital alternative way to reduce traffic pressure at Farmgate and Karwan Bazar. However, this is not the only road but also others in different areas from where illegal parking was evicted by the late mayor are suffering the same fate.

While the unholy nexus of drivers, law enforcement agencies and politicians is contributing to such a situation, the scarcity of necessary facilities in the capital is the main reason for illegal parking on roads. A lack of parking facilities across this concrete jungle leaves no options for many vehicle owners but to park their vehicles illegally on city roads, intensifying already aggravated traffic gridlock. Though facilitating comfortable public transport and making need-based multi-storey parking facilities in busy areas were among the solutions to the hazardous parking, any physical work is yet to be started for this purpose.

Though a parking policy was prepared for Dhaka city four years back, the plan seems to have been shelved. In absence of necessary laws or parking facilities, the city roads appear to be taken over by transporters with illegal and indiscriminate parking unlike other megacities in the world. In most developed countries, engineers and planners have to submit their parking studies before building a multi-storey structure. However, in Bangladesh, this sort of study is a far cry. We have been observing the negative impact of such an apathetic approach from the authorities concerned.

Therefore, the city authorities must take immediate action to implement their plans to ensure parking facilities and, thus, reduce traffic congestion on roads that kills millions of man-hours every year. The capital of a fast growing country must not die of a suffocating traffic situation.