Parking facilities

Opening of the largest multi-level car park in the capital – The New Indian Express

Express press service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The largest multi-level car park (MLCP) in the city, with a capacity of 1,800 four-wheeled vehicles, has been opened at the Technopark campus. Information technology firm UST completed construction of the facility in 34 months, and company officials say it will add five more floors in Phase II of the project to accommodate a total of 4,000 cars.

This project should be a revelation for the municipality which has failed to provide adequate paid parking for the public despite the growing demand. “The car park was designed with the needs of our employees in mind as they slowly return to the offices. We were able to complete the project in a short time despite the difficult Covid phase.

In the future, when we add five more floors, this would become the largest parking lot in the state. We are also planning to install solar panels above the MLCP in line with our sustainability initiative and our goal of being carbon neutral,” said Shilpa Menon, Center Manager, UST Thiruvananthapuram.

The lack of adequate parking spaces in busy areas of the capital forces motorists to park haphazardly on sidewalks. On top of that, the police are fining motorists without giving them options or designated spaces to park.

Chairman of Federation of Thiruvananthapuram Residents Associations MS Venugopal said the civic body has failed to provide even basic amenities to the public. “The demand for designated parking lots remains unanswered. It is because of the sheer apathy of the authorities. Without providing the facilities, the authorities impose fines on motorists. The only MLCP at the company’s office is not available to the public. Ninety percent of the parking space is used by company personnel,” Venugopal said.

The Multi-Level Car Parking (MLCP) Facility at the Company’s Office Premises | BP Deepu

MLCP projects at MCH, Putharikandam suspends fire
The civic body has undertaken up to six multi-level parking projects under the Smart City Thiruvananthapuram Ltd (SCTL) and AMRUT (Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation) scheme which is expected to address the parking crisis in the capital.

Other than announcing plans, the civic body has done little on the ground to execute these projects on schedule. It is learned that the MLCPs planned by the civic body at Putharikandam and Medical College Hospital have been abandoned by the contractor. According to officials, the civic body is trying to revive these two projects.

“There was a design conflict on these two projects. The contractor abandoned the projects due to escalating costs. At Putharikandam, only the piling works have been completed. We have decided to launch a new call for tenders. Both of these projects experienced increased costs as we had to add other components, including fire safety mechanisms. The civic body decided to bear the additional expenses of the project. Around 3 crores would be allocated from the civic body’s own funds to ensure the completion of these projects,” an official from the civic body said.

The official said that the MLCP at Thampanoor is nearing completion. “About 60% of the project has been completed. The project is being implemented by SCTL. The facility can accommodate both two-wheelers and four-wheelers. The facility would be able to solve the parking crisis in the Thampanoor area,” the official said.

No action on collection of illegal parking fees
The municipality continues to ignore growing complaints about the collection of huge parking fees at malls, hospitals and other commercial establishments. Apart from a few notices, the civic body till date has made no effort to stop the illegal collection of fees, in violation of Kerala Municipal Law and Kerala Municipal Building Regulations. Recently, the High Court of Kerala had issued an order against the levying of parking fees by shopping malls. According to the standards, it is illegal to charge a fee for the use of the parking area allocated according to the building regulations. A senior civic body official said the state government needs to come up with a policy to end the collection of parking fees. “We are awaiting orders from the state government,” the official said.

Robotic parking system in preparation

The company has come up with a multitude of projects and proposals to solve the parking crisis. However, other than parking at the company’s office premises, the civic body has not commissioned or executed any of the projects planned so far. In the current budget, it has allocated I1 crore for innovative robotic parking spaces in the capital. A senior official in the company’s engineering wing said it was the first time a local body had planned robotic parking systems in the city. “It has lower O&M costs than normal MLCPs.

It can be installed in smaller spaces and only one carrier would be operational compared to other multi-level installations. The robot transporter can lift around 4,000 kg and a normal car weighs around 3,000 kg,” the official said. The operation and maintenance cost of a robotic parking system stands at about 13 lakh while the cost of conventional MLCP is nearly 18 lakh, an official said. “It has fewer moving parts than conventional MLCPs,” the official said. A similar robotic installation is now functional at the police station, the official said. “We plan to set up at least one installation on an experimental basis. We will identify suitable locations soon,” an official added.

Park worry-free

1,800 four-wheeled vehicles can be parked in the new facility

  • 5 more floors will be added
  • 4,000 vehicles can be parked after construction

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