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Lack of parking spaces in Jammu, Chaos on roads

Dearth of parking spaces in Jammu has led to the road-side encroachment by vehicles for parking purposes. As per statistics, around 2 lakh vehicles ply on the roads in Jammu district at any given time which makes the situation even worse in areas like Gandhi Nagar, Residency Road, Jain Bazar, Panjtirthi, Gumat Chowk, Parade Shalamar, Purani Mandi, Raghunath Bazar, BC Road, High Court Road and Canal Road. Sadly, the Tawi Bridge has been turned into night parking by buses and commercial vehicles against the norms of bridges.

This prevalent congestion of the arterial roads and bridges in Jammu has resulted due to the urban expansion and lackadaisical approach of successive governments in creating parking spaces at various places in Jammu.

Two highly anticipated projects of multi-storey parking at the Bus Stand and Panjthirthi are yet to be completed. Statistics revealed that there are around 9 parking spaces under Jammu Development Authority (JDA) which has the capacity to accommodate 1,200 cars and 500 two-wheelers, while the rest are run by private contractors.

Upto a great extent people are to blame for parking wrongly but authorities are equally responsible for not creating enough parking spaces in Jammu. Owing to population and increase in the number of vehicles plying on the roads, the parking places have shrunk. A person on an average spends around 15-20 minutes in finding the right parking place thereby wasting fuel, upping the stress level and decrease in productivity.

The imbalance in the parking spaces and private or commercial vehicles plying in the roads has affected mobility and accessibility in the city. The unbearably congested roads often lead to frustration and then road accidents consequently. Oftentimes, such congestion creates hindrances for ambulances and fire tenders in case of emergency which is worrisome. 

Men in uniform have confirmed that the haphazard parking in the old city area is deliberately ignored due to the dearth of parking space as people have no option but to park on roadside. This approach rakes up the important issue of lethargic attitude of public and town-planners.

"I often try to avoid using my four-wheeler on Talab-Tillo and Akhnoor road route as the whole stretch is dreadful to drive on. The Akhnoor road area is in a mess due to the ongoing construction work", Pankaj Kumar, a resident of Bohri area said.

The law enforcing agencies must come up with stringent laws to discourage multi-vehicles in the same house by imposing heavy registration tax and town planner must make a fool-proof plan to accommodate the exponentially increasing population and thus vehicles. This will bring a discipline in the society and ensure that there shall be no dearth in parking spaces.

As per laws, commercial buildings like malls, multiplexes must have 35% area under Municipal limits and 30% outside its territory, hotels, restaurants, lodges, cinema halls, business buildings, high rise building, residential apartments, hospitals, institutions or industrial buildings, schools and colleges must have 30 % parking areas within city limits and 20% outside it, but the present scenario tells otherwise.

Timely surveys of traffic, newly registered vehicles, parking areas, violators etc. can really help in curbing the traffic menace. Besides, people should also cooperate with the authorities and follow rules to ensure smooth functioning of traffic on roads and must park vehicles only at designated places.



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Hardeep Bali