Text and photo by Dino Ray V. Directo III
Whenever this writer drives to a destination, the first thing that he considers is parking. The driving public is well aware of the hassles of finding a parking space in a business district or a mall during weekends. It is a welcome gesture from a building owner to provide a convenient and affordable parking. Parking that is difficult to find, inadequate or expensive tends to frustrate consumers and contribute to spill overs, which is a major problem now for our government.
Unlike in progressive countries were the people have good access to public transportation and related services, people in our country are forced to drive themselves to work due to the sheer unreliability of our public transportation system.
This is the reason why the government or private companies must provide local commuters and car owners the convenience of driving to their destination knowing that parking would never be a problem. Due to the lack of parking facilities, car owners are forced to park along the secondary or sometimes main roads to go about their business. This create problems because streetside parking eats up precious space, and sidewalks are also compromised. This problem is evident around Metro Manila and in the business districts of Makati, Ortigas and Makati.
Conventional parking space have become obsolete whose focus is primarily on quantity. It assumes that, when it comes to parking, more is always better and there can never be too much. Yet this abundance of space does not eliminate parking problems due to the sheer volume of vehicles. In a report from the Land Transportation Office (LTO), there are currently 1.74 registered vehicles operating in the NCR alone.
Local Government Units and Land Developers/Owners must start thinking or provide off-site parking for an individual buiding or facility. In developed countries such as Japan, Singapore and in Europe, car stackers and mechanical garages are the norm.
Although there are existing parking facilities like makeshift lots with chicken wire fences and worse, car owners are advised to park at their own risk due to lack of security. If something happens to your car, the car park operator is not liable for damages or theft. Read the fine print, and you’ll see that even giant malls like SM, their car park rules state that the mall is not liable for any damages and theft done to your car. So what blanket of security do consumers have while being charged with a steep price for parking for a few hours shopping at their malls?
With the onslaught of Christmas, and the never ending flow of new cars from the car dealers, the MMDA will have its hands full as it continues its campaign to rid the streets if illegally parked vehicles and illegal vendors. While building modern structures is a welcome sight for urban development, developers and city planners should keep in mind that parking is not option, it’s a neccessity.