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Roadside Parking As Nemesis Of Lagos Road Users

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letterSIR: Roadsides and major streets in Lagos have become improvised parking spaces. This, of course, constitutes a major nuisance for free vehicular movement and ultimately is partly responsible for traffic gridlock in the state.

Extreme lawlessness is so manifest in the building sector that some developers even convert areas marked as parking lots to blocks of shops, thus making nonsense of physical planning arrangement. Today, new housing estates are springing up daily across the State without addressing the same issue. Old houses are being pulled down at various places in the State, only to give rise to gigantic shopping complexes along major roads with no designated parking lots.

This distasteful practice is now a common sight across the state with its attendant discomfort on commuters and pedestrians. Since roads have suddenly become excessively narrow as a result of vehicles that are parked on either side of the roads, the safety of commuters and pedestrians become seriously compromised. Many have lost their lives while jogging or walking along the road. No thanks to roadside parking! Consequently, many who would have loved to engage in walking for pleasure and fitness have to think twice before engaging in such a risky venture.

The state government needs to come with clear-cut policies on the nuisance of road-side parking in Lagos. It is a practice that is not good for investment. No matter how much energy is put into courting foreign and local investments, the enabling environment must, first and foremost, be created before such investment could thrive. Traffic gridlock is, no doubt, bad for business. And roadside parking is partly responsible for most Lagos traffic gridlock.

A recent study conducted by the Lagos State Metropolitan Area Transport Authority, LAMATA, has shown that a major cause of traffic jam in the metropolis is street parking. The study further revealed that no fewer than 10 vehicles vied for parking spaces every 10 seconds on every street in the state. This has often left all streets clogged with motor vehicles, with many being parked at the roadside, or on the walkways, while others had to make do with double parking, blocking on-coming vehicles leading to traffic jams especially at the peak hours.

Corporate Lagos could therefore buy into the vision through massive construction of car parks, which is a lucrative business across the globe. IPI, the U.S. parking industry generates more than $25-30 billion in gross parking revenues. Also in South Africa, the parking industry contributes more than 8%to their gross domestic product, GDP. A recent statistics by Federal Road safety commission, FRSC, also reveals that there are more than 13million active vehicles plying Nigerian roads today, of which more than 2million are here in Lagos. What all these data point to is the fact that there is a market hugely untapped here in Lagos with regards to car/vehicle parking.
•Samuel Omojoye,
Lagos.



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