As per construction rules in cities, all buildings need a certain parking capacity to be approved by the corporation. Although even these standards seem inadequate to handle the traffic mess in Pune, builders have found a way to make it appear as if they are conforming to the law without doing anything of that sort. They just convert the parking potential of the public road into a private parking facility.
I will explain using the example of a building near Kamala Nehru Park. It’s a big building that has only minimal parking inside its campus. Instead they have ingeniously converted public parking into private one. The building isn’t a new one, but this parking space pattern is now seen in almost every new commercial building.
Legend for the image is –
- Cream – The Concrete Building Structure
- Blue – The building parking lots
- Green – The Road
- Red – The area of the road that gets blocked due to the building’s parking. The red public space is converted to the blue private space.
As shown in the image, the builders would say that they have parking for about six cars in the building premises. But note that the access to all these slots is directly from the road. The building has no fence or compound. All the parking slots can just about accommodate one car.
The problem with this is that if you were to park some vehicles in the red area of the road, you would be well within the law, but effectively the building parking capacity would come to zero. So for the building’s parking to work, it is imperative for them to keep the red zone free of vehicles on all days, irrespective of what the law says.
Resultantly, the building watchmen spend all day driving people away from parking in the red zone. The red public parking area effectively has got converted into the blue private parking area.
Put a footpath into the equation and things get even murkier as then the builder paves the footpath using his own tiles and then even that footpath becomes private property. Example – Yes Bank building on Bhandarkar Road.
It’s the same case for almost every new commercial building that is coming up. I recently had an argument with the security staff at the new commercial complex located right at the start of the income tax lane, on Prabhat Road. I checked P1-P2 and accordingly when I hinted at parking in the space in front of the building, the security staff rushed to me and said “Idhar nahi laganey. Saheb ki gadi andar kaisey jaigi“. My appeals to reason were futile and I finally took the “discretion is the better part of valour” approach and moved on. I had parked legally on a public road and yet I was driven away.
Despite the traffic mess in Pune, buildings keep being approved by the PMC when they have minuscule if any ‘real parking. I have no idea if the reason for this is ignorance of the officials or if they are intentionally turning a blind eye. These days, it always seems like the builder’s way is the only way in Pune.