Friday, May 08, 2009

Cities and Parking

The rate at which vehicles are growing in cities, in the next ten years it is going to be road-filled-vehicles all the time. Apart from drives becoming slower, which is already the case in cities like Chennai, Hyderabad [not talking about Mumbai - it maxed out long back], parking is going to be the next major major issue. Not many buildings are planned for parking - partly because they haven't thought about it - and even if they did, there's no space to allocate. It is very common to see a ten storey building that houses an IT park (which means that 15-20% of people will take cars to work) with a seating capacity of 5000 people. Which means it should be able to house 500 cars and 1000 bikes comfortably. Very few buildings have that scalability.

I think the Government of major cities [Mumbai ruled itself out a long time ago - there is just no space!] should use this as a key juncture and construct parking houses at strategeic points in the city. These will be say, 15-20 storey buildings that just house vehicles for parking. Taking Chennai as example:

1) Areas like Mount road, Parrys, OMR, Mint street, Perambur, Ambattur, Tambaram, Sriperambudur and probably few more areas can be targets
2) Each building should be capable of housing 2000 cars and 5000 bikes approx
3) Multiple strategic buildings will serve as critical housing-hubs for these vehicles when we hit threshold increase. We might actually wonder how we did without these earlier
4) These buildings can be high-tech and can pay themselves back in say 10 years or so
5) Solar powered
6) Rain water harvesting
7) Charge say 100 Rs for a six hour slot and 25 Rs for a 6 hour slot for cars and bikes respectively. 20Rs and 10Rs per hour for every additional hour thereof
8) Use a preloaded card that can be used for swiping / debiting amount for every parking. If we coordinate and integrate, this same card can be used anywhere in India for similar services [just make it Visa enabled or MC enabled]
9) For a premium, allow Valet parking - people with cars drop their car and go
10) Until the building recovers its cost double charge all vehicles. Make the accounting transparent [running LCD displays / web]
11) Allow battery operated shuttles for a 3-5 km radius around the parking lot to allow visitors to get themselves dropped to their point of interest. Make this a premium service with the same debit card they use to avail parking.
12) Open maintenance of these facilities [parking lot, battery operated vehicles] to private players on bidding basis. But lay strict quality terms with stringent exit clauses on quality of service
13) Allow easy complaint mechanisms which cannot be overridden easily
14) Open up card maintenance for the owner on the web

If we plan for this now, we can push several cities up by a few notches in terms of infrastructural cabability on a critical aspect. Additionally, this will open up a business model that can employ many people.

3 comments:

Anupama said...

A traffic building in the neighbourhood sounds good. I think its feasible too- coz people are really bored/bugged/miffed with the traffic scene and are willing to pay.

Why can't pothys and saravana stores convert their ground floor into a parking lot? They have built such big stores without bothering about the congestion it will cause. Greedy inconsiderate...

Deepak said...

I think 'willing to pay' will no longer be an option [few years down].

Actually, Spencer Plaza can be used as a good model to construct a building with adequate parking.

Deepak said...

I think 'willing to pay' will no longer be an option [few years down].

Actually, Spencer Plaza can be used as a good model to construct a building with adequate parking.

 
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