Parking vs moving
Consider the case of Mirpur Road near New Market. One entire lane remains almost entirely unused. In front of New Market it is filled with parked cars; the rest of that lane is empty, except for some pedestrians, as drivers are used to the idea that it is a parking lot rather than a lane, and thus don’t use it.
But if the lane were converted into an additional rickshaw lane, where would car drivers park? If we assigned one parking area for private cars at any section of New Market, and charged per time used—for instance at 30 taka/hour—then two major changes would result:
1. Those who now park all day, and thus are the least efficient users of spaces per people benefited, would park for far less time, or use alternate transport to arrive and thus not park at all;
2. Those arriving from nearby would discover it is cheaper to take a rickshaw or walk, and would thus also arrive by other means.
Both these changes would reduce traffic congestion on Mirpur Road. This would also mean that far less parking spaces are needed, thus freeing up spaces for shoppers who wish to enter and leave quickly—and are more likely actually to make purchases than those who abandon their car for hours. Businesses would also benefit from the increased number of shoppers who will be able to arrive by rickshaws when the size of the rickshaw lane would double.
Syed Saiful Alam
Volunteer, Save the Environment movement, Dhaka