Devaraj Urs Road exemplifies the troubles of free parking just perfectly. Considering that it is among the busiest commercial avenues in city, it is not hard to infer why the demand for a parking space on the street is so high. Regardless of whether it be a weekday or a weekend, finding a vacant parking space there is increasingly becoming a serious challenge.
A lot of people park their cars on Narayana Shastri Road and walk back to their destination on DD Urs Road. At first glance it would be very tempting to infer that this is a classic case of insufficient parking. On introspection and going by basic economic rationale, the real issue is in underpricing (or not pricing) parking.
This problem is further compounded by a possible scenario wherein the shop owners themselves bring their cars and park all day! I would be surprised if each shop has been consuming only 1 parking space. If all shop owners parking their cars all day, where would potential customers park? Those that would have been customers are now otherwise going and visiting malls because parking spots are assured.
Is it hard to follow such a line of reasoning? Not only could free parking increase congestion, but also reduce business for the shops! In a scenario where cars parked are made to pay, albeit not exorbitantly, everyone benefits. Parking spaces on the street are better utilised — cars won’t remain parked beyond what is gravely necessary, more people can use a given space, this translates to greater footfall into the shops.
The city stands to gain immensely from pay and park. Mysuru has been at the epicentre of attempts to make transportation sustainable. Some of the projects have received support and initiative from multilateral funding agencies such as the World Bank itself. Considering all this, it would be a serious misstep by subsidising parking like this.
Parking revenues seem tiny at face value, but can be a massive source of revenue to the civic body if implemented right. D.D. Urs Road is only the tip of the iceberg. A comprehensive city wide plan to treat parking as just another commodity is the need of the hour.
– Anirudh, Mysuru, 30.9.2020
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