MUMBAI: To combat vehicular congestion, traffic police have imposed odd-even parking on certain streets of and as a pilot project. Under the system started last month, parking is not allowed on some streets on odd dates, while others become no-parking zone on even dates. And to put an end to , traffic police have started taking steps to prevent shopkeepers from permanently parking vehicles in the space outside their shops.

If the odd-even parking plan works, traffic police are considering restricting the time period for loading and unloading of products by goods vehicles in market areas. “They may be asked to ply till 10 am and then after 8 pm,” said an officer. In June alone, 10,000 parking violations were recorded at the Kalbadevi traffic chowky.

With the vehicle population growing exponentially over the years, parking has become a biggest nightmare in Mumbai. Nearly 1.5 lakh parking violations are recorded every year and yet there are instances of haphazard parking resulting in congestion.

“In commercial hubs such as Princess Street or Abdul Rehman Street, we have received complaints of shopkeepers parking their vehicles right outside their establishments throughout the day. Some shopkeepers strike a deal with handcart owners and let them park carts in the road space outside shops at night. This way, the shopkeepers permanently occupy public spaces,” said a senior traffic police officer. Customers coming to these areas end up double parking their vehicle parallel to the shopowner‘s and lead to snarl ups. “Odd-even parking has been introduced with the idea to stop this practice,” the officer added. The police have also started marking boxes with yellow paint to indicate where vehicles can be parked.

Transport expert Ashok Datar says parking issues were treated too casually all these years and they have now become monstrous. “London municipality has nearly 2000 parking officers but in Mumbai, we have none. Here, people park their vehicles everywhere-on footpaths, bus-stops or street corners. Double parking obstructs the passage of buses and has sounded the death knell for effective public transportation. The only solution is to end free parking-every parking space should be paid for,” Datar said.
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