ISLAMABAD: With the population of the federal capital more than doubling to over two million people in the past 20 years along with a corresponding rise in the number of vehicles plying on its roads, residents of the federal capital on Friday called for building parking plazas, especially in the city’s commercial centres where the worst traffic congestion can be seen on a daily basis.
Residents said that shortage of space in the commercial areas was on the major reasons for traffic congestion, adding that they are often left with no other option but to park their vehicles on the roads and linking streets which only adds to the parking and traffic congestion in the city.
The citizens also expressed dismay over the illegal use of green belts as parking places both by the commercial and non-commercial entities of the city since it creates environmental issues.
“The capital’s initial Master Plan has either been violated or has been amended since commercial areas are increasing without allocating sufficient space for car parks, which compromises the beauty of the city, once declared among the most beautiful cities of the world,” said Babar Saleem, a social activist.
Arsalan, a resident of Sector F-7 stressed the need to sensitise the public to abide by traffic rules and regulations to ensure the smooth flow of traffic.
He pointed to the multi-storey parking plazas which have been built in some cities of Punjab, as a possible solution to the capital’s parking issue.
Farwa Hassan, a working woman, criticised the federal capital’s civic and traffic authorities for failing to build sufficient parking sports.
“Commercial areas have been extended in the city without allocating land for car parks and ignoring the fact that the number of vehicles plying on the city’s roads are going up every day.”
Meanwhile, Municipal Administration Director Zafar Iqbal said that his department was only mandated to auction and execution parking areas. He suggested that the planning was far more relevant to explain whether any plans had been made to accommodate the rising number of vehicles on the capital’s roads.
Iqbal, however, said due to the construction of the Metro Bus project in the federal capital, the process of auctioning land in Sector H-9 to build a parking plaza was facing delays.
Moreover, he said that parking in Sector F-7 had been stopped owing to concerns raised by trade unions. When contacted, the planning department declined to comment on the matter.
“Every query must be raised in writing to seek an answer,” officials said.
Meanwhile, Capital Development Authority (CDA) Traffic Director Azam Khan Lodhi blamed shop owners, who he claimed had illegally encroached on parking spaces in the commercial areas of the city, for the parking problems.
Citizens should be sensitized about the traffic management system and handsome parking fee should be imposed for revenue generation that will be helpful for constructing new parking plazas, he said.