Our city’s civic body is forever coming up with announcements as to how it proposes to handle the continuing problem of public car parks. One day it toys with the idea of a multi-level structure and on another day, it ponders over a Smart Solution – involving smart phones, smart apps and some smart developers as part of the Smart City project, several of whose solutions have left citizens smarting. But be that as it may, The Man from Madras Musings notes that the citizenry is much smarter when it comes to such problems.
Thus, faced with the issue of haphazardly parked vehicles on the roads, residents on the same thoroughfares have had systems in place for decades. The earliest solution was to grow a verdant lawn in place of the sidewalk. Protection could be taken under afforestation programmes for such blatant takeover of public space. This green solution had many benefits – it prevented hawkers from taking over the footpath, it forced pedestrians to share road space with vehicles, it did not allow for two-wheelers to form a lane of their own on the footpath when the road was blocked and lastly, it did not allow for cyclists and motorbike users from parking on the sidewalk as well. This was truly a one solution that tackled many problems.
Others, more socially conscious and hence reluctant to take over the footpath, have been placing blocks of concrete at random intervals along the sides of the road. This prevents cars from being parked but two-wheelers can still make it. There is however a key challenge in this solution – you need a weightlifter to cart the blocks away as and when you wish to park your vehicle on the same space. To overcome this, some people have taken to placing flowerpots all along the road periphery. This too has many benefits – it greens the locality, the pots can easily be moved and perhaps it even helps in closing the holes in the ozone layer. There are yet others who strategically place logs of wood or create a charming display of construction debris to prevent cars from muscling in.
MMM has in his neighbourhood a lawyer who has hit upon an even simpler solution. He has put up notices all along the sidewalks to the effect that the parking space belongs to his legal firm. While this is in no way legal it does scare most people. Nobody wants to be tied up in litigation over something like car parking space. But by far the most intriguing solution was what MMM saw on an early morning walk. A Very Successful Doctor friend of MMM’s who combines his medical skills with talent in photography obligingly took a picture.
They look more like stakes on which witches were burnt in them olden days. These tripod like structures, fashioned out of locally sourced fallen pieces of wood have the advantage of being ecologically friendly and biodegradable. They are also lightweight, thereby ensuring your aged security guard can move them around at will. The only disadvantage is that those wanting to park their cars can also move these around. But most people tend to respect the sanctity of these tripods.
The Corporation of Chennai ought to be including these homemade remedies to the parking problem in its list of solutions. They are way smarter than any smart alec app.
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