In Dhaka city, only 5% people own private cars and they are prioritized in the planning process. As a result, 95% people suffer while travelling. According to policy private cars occupy around 120 square feet space for parking. As per data till July 2019 of Bangladesh Road transport Authority (BRTA), we have 330,968 cars in Dhaka city. And they occupy 80 million square feet in our city (considering at least 2 parking spot for each car). These vast spaces could be easily used for providing office space to 2.6 million people or housing to 5.3 million people or community center to 9.1 million people or playground and open public space to 50 million people. Many countries manage parking demand by controlling private cars. We need to focus on controlling cars and promoting walking, cycling and public transports in our parking policy. On 08 March 2020, Institute of Wellbeing Bangladesh and Work for a Better Bangladesh Trust jointly organized a discussion meeting on ‘Parking: Planning and Management’ and discussants mentioned such in the program.
Barrister Shamim Haider Patwary MP was present as chief guest in the discussion and he said, luxury product like car is illogical in our context. Car control is a must to protect our environment and economics. Also we need to stop car loan, impose extremely high congestion charge. We must not waste fuel or gas for cars. He also committed to raise the issue in parliament and to the Mayor of Dhaka South City Corporation.
Keynote speaker of the program was Urban Planner MD Muntasir Mamun. He said, Private cars occupy more space in roads and carry a few number of people. According to BRTA, on average 13, 668 cars increase per year. Statistics show that vehicle speed will reduce to 4KM/hour by the year 2035.
General Secretary of Bangladesh Institute of Planners (B.I.P) Dr. Adil Muhammed Khan, said that, government is now focusing on metro and subway. But there is a very little focus on improving walking, cycling and public transport like- bus or rail. Dhaka is a unique city. We will have to consider the reality and features of Dhaka while planning.
Regional Director of HealthBridge Canada, Debra Efroymson said that, it is impossible to fulfill the demand of car parking. Many cities control private cars for parking management and reduce air pollution. If we can ensure all facilities in walking distance it will be easier to control car use, as well as, parking demand, pollution, congestion and road accident.
Joint Secretary of Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (BAPA), Maruf Hossain said that, Dhaka Transport Coordination Authority (DTCA) has focused on increasing parking facility. But they have not considered the health and environmental hazard. We should focus on people rather than private cars while planning.
The discussion meeting was presided by Director of Work for a Better Bangladesh (WBB) Trust, Gaous Pearee. She said, congestion, pollution and road accidents are increasing with the rise of numbers of private cars. We should focus on fulfilling our basic needs, such as- accommodation, open spaces rather than providing spaces for parking.
The program was moderated by Senior Project Officer of Work for a Better Bangladesh Trust, Ziaur Rahman. Other discussants of the program were President of BMPCA Mohiuddin Ahmed, Mahbubul Haq from BCHRD, Firoza Begum from Bachte Shikho Nari and Senior Journalist of Daily Kaler Kantho, Nikhil Chandra Vadra.