As the capital is set to observe World Car Free Day today under the theme ‘safe walking and cycling,’ the authorities have failed to get past the drafting stage to finalise the proposed policy for parking management in Dhaka and its adjacent areas.
It has been more than a year that the policy on parking remained trapped in limbo.
Experts and officials are now united in their opinions for framing a proposal after considering a pedestrian first policy in the city by discouraging cars.
Road safety experts, however, urged the authorities concerned to draft the policy taking a holistic approach to the problem of parking by assessing demands of all kinds of road users instead of only car users.
Dhaka Transport Coordination Authority in April last year drafted the Parking Policy 2018 to develop, update and integrate implementation of Dhaka city’s traffic management and collection of non-tax revenue from parking charges, which will finally be used for developing parking services.
The main objectives of the proposed policy are to prevent haphazard parking on roads, determine strategic methods to meet the increasing demand for parking and parking structures by public and private sectors and corporate entities, develop strong authority for managing parking facilities, offer legal framework and increase government’s revenue earning.
In Dhaka city, cars covered less than 10 per cent trips per day while these vehicles occupied huge spaces on roads, hence the need for a parking policy, said officials.
DTCA executive director Khandakar Rakibur Rahman told New Age that they want to implement a pedestrian first policy and discourage cars in the city.
He said that earlier they had sent the draft to the road transport and bridges ministry while currently they were again revisiting the draft to improve on it.
He said that the policy was yet to be finalised mainly due to lack of expertise on this issue.
‘As per my observation the draft policy will be finalised within three months,’ he added.
Former director of Accident Research Institute of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology Professor Md Shamsul Hoque said that cars occupied around 70 per cent spaces on roads while it covered only few trips.
He said that in a country like Bangladesh the authorities should adopt ‘Drop Zone Policy’ based on loading and unloading of motorised, non-motorised and paratransit vehicles on the roads simultaneously.
‘We readily provide parking facilities to only 20 per cent car users while we have no attention for the 80 per cent people using other modes of transports,’ the professor said.
Shamsul said that this draft policy would rather encourage more parking on roads and eventually would increase congestion on roads.
A holistic policy was necessary to control parking on roads, he pointed out.
Work for a Better Bangladesh Trust programme manager Maruf Hossain said that the government should fix the philosophy of the policy at first otherwise the crisis would only be deepened.
In Bangladesh, the authorities should go for a market-based approach to parking, whereas the present draft only considered a conventional approach where parking facilities would be provided based on an increased demand, he argued.
In the market-based approach, parking fees would be fixed based on road prices and prices of other elements which would eventually discourage people to use cars, he said.
The draft policy should be coordinated with the existing laws also, he added.
Meanwhile, DTCA will observe Car Free Day with 59 more government and non-government organisations by organising discussion and cultural programmes.
The proposed policy will be applicable for DTCA areas — Dhaka, Narayanganj, Munshiganj, Manikganj, Gazipur and Narsingdi districts and Dhaka South City Corporation, Dhaka North City Corporation, Narayanganj City Corporation, Gazipur City Corporation and Dhaka Metropolitan Development Plan by Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha.
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