Islamabad grows thin for vehicles

ISLAMABAD: The federal capital of Pakistan is adjudged an ideal modern city, but unfortunately its architectural master plan miserably failed to envisage enough parking slots for its future needs. So, the issue of parking vehicles in the city is going from bad to worse by the day.

Over the years, the main business areas of the city, including Super Market, Jinnah Super Market, F10 Markaz, Karachi Company, Sitara Market, Pishawar Morr and Blue Area have seen an exponential rise in the number of vehicles.

The arrival of more vehicular traffic in the above areas was always augured well as they brought more customers, giving rise to more business activity. But there was a pitfall as well: the total parking space in the city became thin for these business-driving vehicles. Also, more cars in an area mean more miseries for the pedestrians.

The sparse parking created another issue: traders and customers have been forced to park vehicles illegally on the roadside, adding to the rush hour confusion. On the other hand, traffic police’s drive against illegal parking has added to the miseries of everyday commuters. “Because of lack of parking space outside my shop I am compelled to park my car on the roadside. So, any car parked on the roadside gets towed away by the traffic police. What am I supposed to do?” asked an angry trader of the Karachi Company area.

It is estimated that around 5,000 cars enter the Blue Area shopping mall every day. The main problem remains where to park. “With the number of restaurants and commercial markets increasing in the area, the number of vehicles is also going up,” Sajjad Khan Mehsud, a local journalist, said. “Each big restaurant can have outside it about 100 to 150 cars at a rush hour. If the police or the CDA put a ceiling on the number of taxis to enter per unit (area), the problem can be solved to some extant,” Mehsud suggested.

Traders from F10 Markaz told Daily Times that they have repeatedly written to the CDA about the parking problem, but to no avail. Due to scarcity of proper parking plazas in the city, traffic remains jammed all day long and business remains thin, they said. “We are aware about the matter and are trying to resolve the issue in collaboration with the public-private partnership,” a Capital Development Authority (CDA) official told Daily Times. 
The trader community of Islamabad complains that the government has not done enough to resolve the chronic problem of parking. The authorities concerned that persistently neglect the use of the parking slots even where it is available are inimical, they added. They relevant government agencies should, therefore, concentrate on the matter and must resolve it as soon as possible.