Recently went to downtown Yangon with a friend’s car. Cars were parked full on both sides of the road on Bogyoke Road. We turn into Pansodan Street and the scene was the same with cars parked full on both side of the street. We then took a turn onto Merchant Road and luckily found a space that was vacated by car that went off as we approach it. Parking space is a difficulty faced by any car drivers driving to Yangon’s central business district in downtown area. Yangon Region Government had announced since 2018 of its intention to implement a smart car parking system.
Arrangement for smart car parking system
“To reduce traffic congestion in downtown Yangon and for vehicles to park systematically, a smart car parking system will be implemented,” said Yangon Region Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein. Smart car parking system aims to prevent unnecessary long duration parking of vehicles and reduce congestion of roads in six downtown townships of Yangon. The six were Pabedan, Latha, Landmadaw, Kyauktada, Pazundaung and Botahtaung townships.
Tenders were issued for applications to establish a smart car parking system and the last date for tender submission had passed. Six companies were found to have passed the first qualification stage and one will be selected out of the six to implement the system.
“As per the word ‘smart car parking’ it will use smart technology to collect parking fees and Yangon Region government will provide necessary cooperation” said Yangon Region Development Committee road and bridge works group secretary U Lin Naing on 18 November.
Systematic selection of tender
One of the six companies that had passed the first qualification stage will be selected and permitted to implement the smart car parking system. As the tender assessment group will transparently and systematically select the tender winning company, Yangon soon will have a smart car parking that had technical support different from a person manually collecting parking fees as done in the past. Officials from Yangon City Development Committee strongly believed that the smart car parking system will resolve road congestion in six downtown townships of Yangon.
There were verbal arguments for car parking in downtown Yangon and even physical fights that had tragically resulted in death and the smart car parking system had become a work that must be implemented as soon as possible and without fail. Yangon Region Government was not allowing YRTA and YBS buses to enter into many downtown areas and making all to start/ends their trips to/from downtown Yangon at Thakin Mya Park. This causes considerable reduction in congestion of downtown roads. But the lack of parking place remains a huge problem that need to be resolved.
Road congestions in downtown Yangon was due to illegal parking and zones where restrictions were imposed on car parking. Cars that park for long duration in downtown Yangon were cars whose owners live in downtown Yangon and cars of companies and shops.
Ko Hla Maung who lived in 29th Street said “I lived in 29th Street. As far as I know, if car parking fees were collected according to the duration of car being parked, it would not be convenient for us. I wonder how this will be resolved as paying daily car parking fee is not feasible for people like us.”
More car parking in downtown side roads
Smart car parking system will collect parking fees automatically. This system was implemented in Mandalay Region Mandalay town already. The system was planned to be implemented on the main roads and there’s a possibility that more cars will park in downtown side roads. At the moment, side roads were now full of parked cars almost day and night. However, there was no issue of road congestions blocking up the full length of the road as on the main roads.
About 600,000 cars in Yangon
Before 2010, Yangon had 160,000 cars. Due to auto policy changes in 2010, by 2018 October the number of passenger or saloon cars increased to more than a million. Cars registered in Yangon were about 600,000. Due to this, parking space was becoming fewer and fewer not only in downtown Yangon but also in almost all the other townships of Yangon too.
According to a new building construction policy, a building had to have adequate parking space for it. If public transport system was upgraded and long term plans were setup and implemented to reduce the numbers of vehicles, road congestion and subsequent problems will be significantly reduced.
According to research conducted by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the main reason for road congestion in Yangon was due to haphazardly and unsystematically parked cars. Whether the smart car parking system could support systematic parking of cars and reduce road congestion remains to be seen. According to preliminary studies conducted, it would definitely reduce road congestions. When high-rise buildings were constructed, multi-story car parks need to be constructed as well. This would be convenient for all the car drivers.
Inclusion of car parking in high-rise buildings
Of the high-rise building constructed, the 23 story Sule Square was unique with car parking space for 550 cars. Junction City also had parking space for 150 cars. Emergence or construction of such buildings will definitely reduce to a certain extent the shortage of car parking space.
Smart car parking system parking fee rates
The smart car parking system to be implemented in Yangon by 2020 will have three types of parking fees. The parking fees will be colour coded into red, green and yellow ranging from K 500 and K 300 to K 200 according to Yangon City Development Committee Engineering Department (Road/Bridge).
Cooperation of the people is required for smart car parking system to reduce the rising road congestion problem in downtown Yangon. Translated by Handytips