It began with urban planners and now, a state-appointed body of environmentalists has urged the state government to have a relook at the city’s parking policy.
In a letter expressing concern, the state level expert appraisal committee (SEAC) recently said that the government should encourage schemes that do not add congestion in areas which are already congested. SEAC is an advisory body set up by the central government to scrutinise development projects in the state. Their letter said that the city already has narrow roads and once such schemes are allowed, there is no restriction on parking on that stretch of road.
“There would be congestion, as once the car comes out of the parking lot, the vehicle will find it difficult to move. The roads should be wide. We have suggested that parking proposals/rules should be such that it promotes optimal use of parking space,’’ said Hakeem, chairman, SEAC.
Senior government officials are not surprised by concerns expressed by SEAC. The changes suggested to two developers Lodha and Indiabulls, constitute a classic example. The SEAC criticised the Lodha Group and Indiabulls saying their projects sought “unacceptably high’’ construction area. Lodha’s construction area is more than 13.3 times the net plot area.
“Unless these are significantly reduced, it would not be possible to consider the proposal,’’ it noted.
“A majority of schemes that come for approval are based on the incentive parking floor space index and that too, in already congested areas. Forget about the infrastructure burden, these projects talk of constructing four to five level parking space. SEAC members believe such plans do not work in the long run,’’ said an officer, connected with the SEAC.
“As they cannot do much since the BMC have approved the plans, the SEAC where possible have restricted the number of podium and basement car parking to two each in each development. They are also not allowing podiums to be covered thereby, ensuring the lot continues to be used for parking and not sold as commercial space,’’ the officer added.
Officials said that the SEAC restriction was to ensure a developer use the developable space on the plot as the corresponding infrastructure in the area would allow than the ridiculous area he could develop on a plot by using the incentive parking floor space index.