Parking crisis in Delhi: Supreme Court issues detailed directions [Read Judgment]

Parking crisis in Delhi: Supreme Court issues detailed directions [Read Judgment]

Meera Emmanuel

With a view to address the rising problem of shrinking parking spaces, the Supreme Court today issued a series of directions to the concerned authorities of the Delhi Government. The Court observed in its judgment:

The Golden Rule is “Love thy neighbour”. Today the social fabric of neighbourhoods is being torn asunder because of fights over this most petty issue of parking of vehicles. Therefore, we feel there is a need to pass a detailed order on a mundane issue like parking because this may impact town planning. Proper parking policies will also lead to less pollution, less crime and a better and more dignified life which every citizen is entitled to under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.”

To alleviate the problem, the Bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta also directed the government to notify the Delhi Maintenance and Management of Parking Places Rules 2019 (2019 rules) at the earliest, and not later than September 30, 2019. Broadly, these rules calls for the streamlining of parking spaces in Delhi.

Inter alia, the Supreme Court observed,

One heartening feature of this policy is that in its order of priority, it gives first priority to pedestrians/cyclists, secondly to mass public transport; thirdly to emergency vehicles, fourthly to vehicles for differently abled persons ­ their pick up and drop; then comes personal motor vehicle parking;”

After it took approving note of various provisions envisioned in the draft rules, the Court proceeded to remark,

Once the rules are notified it shall be the duty of all concerned to ensure that the said rules are enforced in letter and spirit.”

In the meanwhile, the Bench also ordered that the following directions be implemented by the New Delhi Municipal Corporation, North Delhi Municipal Corporation, South Delhi Municipal Corporation, East Delhi Municipal Corporation and the Delhi Cantonment Board.

  • Ensure that all the pavements, in the residential areas are cleared from all encroachments and ensure that the pavements are made usable by pedestrians.
  • Persons who have encroached upon the pavements shall be given notice of 15 days to remove the encroachment and in case they fail to do so, the encroachment shall be removed by the municipal authority/authority concerned at the cost of the encroacher which shall be recovered as arrears of land revenue. The authorities may also consider framing rules to discontinue municipal services to repeat encroachers.
  • Ensure that while granting permission to build any structures, there is a proper assessment of the parking needs for the next 25 years and requisite parking facilities are available.
  • The Government of NCT of Delhi, the municipal authorities and the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority are directed to consider the viability and effectiveness of introducing Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags, parking guidance and information systems and last mile connectivity from parking spaces to commercial areas, institutions etc. and submit a report in this behalf by September 30, 2019.

Report on feasibility of expanding Lajpat Nagar pilot project for ease of parking

During the course of the judgment, the Court also took note of a pilot project taken up by the Government, wherein certain area has been earmarked in Lajpat Nagar to ease the problem of parking. Similar projects have also been proposed for Kamla Nagar in North Delhi and Krishna Nagar in East Delhi. The Court has directed the concerned authorities to evaluate the feasibility of the project and report back to the Court.

The pilot project of EPCA started in Lajpat Nagar from April, 2018 and we expect EPCA to give us a detailed report of the working of the pilot project in Lajpat Nagar by 30.12.2019. We request EPCA to prepare pilot project(s) for Krishna Nagar and Kamla Nagar within two weeks, immediately whereafter such pilot projects will be started there. With regard to the working of such pilot projects let the report be submitted by 30.12.2019.”

The Court proceeded to inform,

After the reports on the pilot project are received further directions shall be issued.”

While making the evaluation of these projects, the Bench also instructed the Government to factor in various other observations made in the judgment. This includes the Court’s observations made regarding the need to appreciate the fact that there are different parking requirements to be factored in depending on the kind of area in question. In this regard, the Court observed:

  • In transport hubs (bus depots, railway stations, metro stations etc.), the emphasis would be on “drop and go” arrangements. For instance, this could mean low fees or no fee for drop-offs and heavy parking fees for parking vehicles.
  • In institutional areas (universities, courts, hospitals etc.) the court noted that the focus is ordinarily limited to officials and employees, leading to inadequate parking spaces for other stakeholders. In this regard, it was noted that litigants find it difficult to find parking spaces in courts and patients may find it difficult to park in hospitals.
  • In commercial areas (malls, cinema halls, markets, corporate offices etc.) the court noted that there should not only be adequate parking facilities for transport vehicles but also facilities such as CNG stations, petrol stations, electric charging points, etc.

The judgment proceeds to highlight,

Whether it be a transport hub, an institution or commercial area, each will have its own specific requirements and these have to be addressed by the planners and architects to ensure that adequate arrangement is made for parking of vehicles and the persons visiting these transport hubs, institutions, commercial areas are not forced to park on the roads or in spaces which are not meant for parking.

Other measures that may be factored in to ease the parking crisis

Other observations made by the Court include,

  • A lane must be earmarked for unhindered movement of vehicles like ambulances, fire tenders, police vehicles etc. This measure should also ensure that the law and order enforcement agencies can move without any hindrance. This lane will be used by the residents as well. This lane should be clearly earmarked on both sides by yellow fluorescent paint or strips. The space between the two yellow lines should not be permitted to be used for parking. The Court also observed that this measure would prevent perpendicular parking and encourage parallel parking.
  • The Court noted that the 2019 rules envisages that the parking charges would include the cost of transporting the person from the place where his/her vehicle is parked to the market area by providing shuttle services. The Court directed that such shuttle facility should be by non­polluting vehicles such as electric or battery operated vehicles, golf­carts etc.
  • The Court noted that the Lajpat Nagar pilot project envisages a demand for parking of 3510 cars in Lajpat Nagar ­III whereas the demarcated legal parking can only accommodate 1830 cars. This means there is a gap of 1680 cars. To address the gap, the Court took note that the EPCA has identified sufficient alternative space to accommodate these cars in various parking spaces available and through shared parking with hospitals and educational institutions. Approving the proposed solutions, the Court remarked, “Institutions like hospitals, schools etc. do not require parking space once the working hours are over. Therefore, this idea of sharing the parking space is very good and could be extended to other areas too. However, in such event, the owners of such institutions may have to be monetarily compensated and we leave that question open for determination at a later stage.”
  • In any parking facility where more than 100 cars can be parked, guidance and information systems should be compulsorily used. The number of vacant parking spaces should be clearly identified and displayed prominently on signages outside the institutional/commercial areas as well as outside the parking. The guidance system should clearly indicate which entrance/route the motor vehicle users should use to reach the nearest vacant parking.

The Court has now posted the matter next for October 4, 2019, by which date the 2019 rules are expected to be notified. On this date, the government is also expected to appraise the Court regarding the proposal to introduce RIFD tags, parking guidance and information systems and last mile connectivity from parking spaces to commercial areas, institutions. The case is further listed for January 13, 2020 thereafter.

[Read Judgment]

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