If you go to visit markets in Dwarka, the parking woes follow. You often won't find any space in the market premises to park, forcing you to park your vehicles in the service lane or on the main road. The situation gets even worse during peak hours and weekends.
The parking crisis has been a prevalent issue in Dwarka for quite a while now. With time and the increase in population, it has just gotten worse. This is a testament to the lack of proper town planning in the sub-city. Improper layouts for these markets have made the parking spaces inadequate. The spaces like service lanes, which were made for smooth access for the fire brigade, ambulance, or any such emergency services are now in use for parking cars. Not only the service lanes but even the main roads adjacent to the markets are also jammed with parked vehicles, worsening the traffic situation in the sub-city.
After having a closer look at the parking problem in Dwarka, CitySpidey found that the problem has been there since the beginning in the planned markets and also in the unplanned markets that have come up later as an afterthought.
MLUs (Mixed Land Use Markets)
In Dwarka, there are planned markets in each sector near the societies which are called MLUs. These markets were developed by DDA during the inception of the city. The markets were developed in such a way that the parking spaces were made inside the premises of the markets only. As it turned out, the parking spaces in these markets were not only ill-designed but proved insufficient as well. Due to the increased population, the burden has increased on these markets in terms of visitors and shopkeepers. It seems as if DDA didn't anticipate this while planning the city. This poor situation can be witnessed in the MLUs of Sector 6, 10, 11,12,3 and 4.
On the present parking crisis, a DDA official, on the condition of anonymity says, “While planning the city, we anticipated that the people from the nearby societies would visit such MLU markets on foot but that didn't happen. Now, the concept that was adopted has not proven to be effective. This matter was once pointed out by one of the higher officials during the planning, where he asked as to what will happen in the coming 20 years. So the crisis was known to them and it could have been avoided.”
Ramphal Chowk market in Sector 7, Palam Extension, is one of the oldest markets in Dwarka area. It has been there before the sub-city was planned. In Ramphal Chowk market, there is no space for parking because there is no premises of the market. There are shops on both sides of the road and the visitors are compelled to park their vehicles on the roads only. Besides, the footpaths are also encroached by the vendors and the market shop extension counters. All of this makes the whole area a difficult stretch to cross. Traffic jam on the road from Ganpati Chowk to Brahma Apartments, Sector 7 is a perennial issue.
Anurag Bahal, a resident of Sector 7 says, “Because of lack of parking space, residents park their vehicles in no parking zone and their vehicles are towed away by the police.” Residents say that on weekends, there must be some provision by traffic police to allow parking in one lane of the road.
“My car was towed once when I parked it at Ramphal Chowk Market. This issue will only get bigger with time and it must be taken seriously by civic bodies,” said Pramila Malik of Jagran Apartments, Sector 22.
New markets and malls
In Dwarka, the new and emerging markets and malls have also started to face parking problems. In malls, despite the availability of parking spaces, the vehicles are parked on roads. It can be seen in front of City Centre Mall, Sector 12 in the metro corridor and Vegas Mall, Sector 14.
Besides, in the new market along the road from KM Chowk towards Vidyut Chowk in Sector 12 and from the chowk of Sector 4/12 towards Bal Bharti School, there is no parking space. On both sides of the road, new banks, medical shops, coaching centres, sweet shops are being opened. Though the area is coming up as a commercial space, it is being developed without premises and thus, there is no parking provision. This compels the visitors to park their vehicles on the main road.
This shows that the civic bodies are failing yet again in providing parking spaces in these new upcoming markets. A member of Dwarka Forum, Rejimon CK says, “There is a dire need to look into the matter. Traffic police, local police, civic bodies together should think upon and try to get a solution.”
Previous initiatives went in vain
To give a temporary solution to repeated complaints of the RWAs for the parking space in Sector 6 and 10 market areas, an alternative parking space was developed by DDA in 2010 in Sector 10 behind Shakuntlam Apartments. The space was available for free and was made available for both the markets, Sector 6 and 10. But due to a lackadaisical approach from DDA, the parking was never used.
Also in 2010 and 2012, a joint survey of the market areas was done by the RWAs, social organisations, police, DDA and MCD to look into the matter but nothing happened. In 2017, the then Mayor of SDMC, Kamaljeet Sehrawat visited the markets of Sector 6 and Sector 10 with the team of engineers of Municipal Corporation and also DDA. She asked them to find out the solution to the parking issue and also wrote to DDA for the space but no effective solution was decided upon.