Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A Shootout over Parking near City Beautiful - Inevitable

The first news I noticed today was about a shooting in Mohali over a quarrel over parking. I can sympathize with the victims family as I have bottled up a lot of anger against neighbours who have at least 4 cars and we have had to learn how to park and take out our car with relatively complex maneuver for people our age.

The sadness is that the people who can have many expensive cars can show off their wealth by buying such vehicles. However, they are not well off enough to buy or rent a place where they can park such objects of 'desire'. Actually, come to think of it, people like us could not possibly have bought the place where we are staying were it not for our grandparents' and parents' foresight -  even if accidental.

So, the general hostility towards even 4 storey "high rises!" amuses and saddens me. It is indeed highly undesirable to have tiny plots with 4 storeys with narrow roads leading up to them. Solution would be to find ways by which a whole area can be redeveloped rather than merely blocking haphazard growth. If no solution is allowed, people will find ways of circumventing the rules.

I used to work on the 4th floor(ground + 4) of a building in the commercial heart of Chandigarh - Sector 17. Each block consists of adjoining but independent plots. So, each little building has a narrow, ugly stairway. Our building had a non-functional lift, most likely because it was too expensive to maintain. In general, the ground floor is very  valuable but, I expect, that the upper floors are not.

What if the all the adjoining plots were consolidated and a single complex built. It would be economical to have nice lifts, escalators, toilet facilities and each floor would be commercially valuable. Everyone but the shops on the ground floor would benefit.

The same setup is true for each of the markets in each sector. Originally, the space above the shop was probably intended for the residence of the shop owners. I know of only one such instance now in our sector's market.  The sector markets need urgent redevelopment. Most shoppers even from within the sector come on cars and not walk. The shop owners have cars. The parking is a mess. The traffic flow is already chaotic.

And we still advertise is as city beautiful and want to insist that everything should be as per the original Le Corbousier plan :(

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