Lahore Mall Road that used to be one of the most beautiful and peaceful roads in the city, has turned into an awful place due to traffic jams and scores of parking stands on it, said Malik Saqib, a trader at Hall Road.
Saqib lamented that with the city’s expansion, authorities remained least concerned in resolving parking problems around the busiest roads, with the issue becoming severe with each passing day.
“Road jams due to motors’ parking on road and service lanes have become a nuisance for the business community of Mall Road and Hall Road. We have requested all the concerned departments, but their demands remain unresolved,” said Saqib
A significant increase in population has been observed in the metropolis during the last two decades and this rapid increase has caused many other issues. It also increased the existing parking problem to the extent that people have become immune to this in the city, particularly in commercial areas.
While visiting the city, it can be observed that most of the roads, especially near major commercial areas have no proper parking facilities that force people to drive their vehicle by roadsides, on service lanes or streets adjacent to the commercial buildings.
With the aim to deal with the parking issues, the Punjab government established Lahore Parking Company (LePark) in 2012 to facilitate the citizens by adopting new modern techniques.
The company was assigned to develop parking plazas and lots in the city to reduce traffic related miseries. Company officials claim making the parking system better as compared to its establishment, however, the company has failed in resolving parking issues.
Owing to the worsening parking situations, the former Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif also showed his displeasure on Lepark. On October 3 of this month, over the worst parking situation in the city, the Punjab Local Government asked Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar to abolish LePark.
Prominent lawyer Azhar Siddique was of the view that parking issues are prevailing due to poor urban planning systems because the design of our cities is not according to international standards.
Another lawyer and environmentalist, Ahmad Rafay Alam, while talking to Minute Mirror, expressed grave concern over the city’s parking system, saying that instead of discouraging people to take their rides on roads, authorities are busy advertising parking lots.
He also lamented the lack of a parking infrastructure by urban planners who never considered the growing needs while expanding and launching mega projects.
Giving a solution, Alam said that proper parking was one of the strategies to resolve the traffic congestion. “Public transport and urban design must be linked to transport,” he suggested and said that authorities must make a significant increase in parking fees. “The high parking fee will reduce the parking load as this will discourage the use of cars among the public,” he added.
An official in the town planning wing of Lahore Development Authority (LDA), while seeking anonymity, admitted that this was the authorities’ responsibility to establish a proper parking system in the city. “Our planners don’t have vision to formulate any strategy in this regard while we don’t have any proper study regarding the parking requirements in certain areas,” they said.
The Lahore Commissioner’s spokesperson Dr. Abid Ali Saleemi admitted that parking was one of the biggest issues in the city. “Since Commissioner Lahore resumed his office, he has conveyed his concern to the concerned authorities to resolve the issue,” said Saleemi. He added that a major issue is the illegal parking on roads either by Lepark contractors or by private parking stands.
Saleemi said that the city administration’s campaign against illegal parking is ongoing, but the issues will not be resolved unless the new parking plazas or lots are established.
Due to all the chaos, everyday hundreds and thousands of citizens face the problem of parking and go through mental stress, but still, no one is there to resolve the issue.