Assessment Of The Impact Of On-Street Parking In Eleme LGA
The research examined the Problems of Impact of on-street parking in Eleme LGA and the explanations with a view to establishing challenges and providing appropriate recommendations. Data for the study were obtained through a semi-structured questionnaire, observation, monitoring, recording and document review. A total of 86 questionnaires were administered through Stratified Random Sampling. The Nominal Scale was used to classify the various commercial activities and their parking characteristics. The On-Street parking predominantly occurs around the Converted Commercial Developments. The factors responsible for parking problems were identified to include, inadequate parking facilities, lack of multi storied parking facilities, and poor enforcement of development control guidelines. The study concluded by suggesting the management strategies for the efficient management of the transportation system in Eleme LGA, introduction of public parking garages, introduction of parking charges, development of mass transit systems, and strengthening of the Department of Development Control.
1.1 Background to the Study
The viability of any urban activity system is dependent upon interactions of transport systems and infrastructure. In this regard, the transport system provides two fundamental functions: Movement of persons and goods, and provision of access to land-based activities. Transport services are therefore not demanded and utilized for their sake but are derived from the desire to use other services, thus making transport complementary to or a derived demand arising from the use of other services in an urban area (Ogar, 2009).
With the rapid growth of vehicular traffic in recent years, the planning of the city has been faced with a number of new problems. ‗Old streets have to be widened in order to accommodate the increasing number of cars. New streets and highways have to be constructed to enable the cars develop full speed‘ (Walter, 1940, Pg.464-467). Meanwhile, all these extensive activities in the widening and highway construction have proved not to be enough to relieve traffic congestion or to improve traffic flow along the main thoroughfares within the city at large. Walter, in his study also observes that the problem of keeping the cars on the move is definitely related to the question of where to put them when they come to rest.
Parking is a critical component of transportation policy and management for any locale, but especially for the large central cities. The policies and management practices affecting parking lead to outcomes that, in turn, can affect land use, air quality, traffic congestion, travel behavior, safety and economic development, not to mention revenue lines. Yet, effectively managing parking is an ongoing battle for the large central cities as they face competing, and sometimes contradictory, objectives along with an ever-increasing demand for space (Allison, 2002 p.7). As important as parking is, there are relatively few serious analyses and assessments of parking and its problems which are of particular interest to this study.
Eleme LGA is one of the ten districts in The city of the Rivers State. It is considered as the most delicate and most problematic in terms of the use and management of parking. This is as a result of myriads of commercial activities in the district which attract high population and motorized traffic more than any other district within the Rivers State. This gives rise to complex traffic problems in the FCC. These problems can only be solved through appropriate and well-articulated planning policies and actions on a sustained basis. It is therefore necessary that parking facilities are covered in urban transportation management exercises through proper evaluation. The proper location of the facilities within the commercial areas based on standards ensures effectiveness while non-conformity to standards affects their efficient utilization. Good management of parking facilities in planned commercial Districts of the Rivers State, will promote efficiency and sustainability in the smooth running of the city.
1.2 Statement of Research Problem
Rivers State has very elaborate proposals meant to ensure smooth traffic movement and parking. The proposals include various hierarchies of transportation corridors, public and private parking areas and an integrated system of rail and mass transit. In reality, effective as the transportation system is meant to be, parking has now become a major problem that makes travel within the city difficult. Commercial areas across the city exhibit more of the problems and predominantly also within the older Districts of The city. The occurrence of this problem and the factors responsible require investigation to determine possible solutions. This study seeks to explore these and related issues using Eleme LGA as a case study. It examines characteristics and problems of parking and the forces that account for observed shortcomings.
Eleme LGA is one of developed at the take-off of the Rivers State. It is characterized by large number of commercial activities primarily along the major streets. These commercial activities have been on the increase over time mainly through land use conversion. Across the District, it is observed that on-street parking is very common leading to congestion, environmental pollution and traffic accidents, etc. The introduction of parking fees between 2012 and 2014 across the city did not itself solve the problem suggesting that better strategies are needed.
Parking demand, supply and design have been studied including factors contributing to emergence of problem in many cities (Hamna, 1993; Jane, 2001; McDonald, 2009; Sanusi, 1998). There are studies also on parking strategy, standards, management, parking policy and the pricing of parking (Mitava 2012; Todd, 2006, 2010; Tres and Dana, 1998). In particular, Ogar (2009) has studied urban transportation problems associated with the distortion of the Rivers State Master Plan. The contribution of this study is in complementing earlier studies by focusing on characteristics of parking in commercial zones of Eleme LGA as bases to better understand the challenges.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The Purpose of the Study is assessment of the impact of on-street parking in Eleme LGA
1.4 Research Questions
The questions that the study seeks to answer are:
- What is the nature and pattern of parking problems in the commercial areas of Eleme LGA?
- What are the explanatory factors for the problems?
1.5 Aim of the Study
The aim of this research is to analyze the impact of on-street parking in Eleme LGA, Rivers State, as a basis for identifying the inherent problems and to make recommendations.
1.6 Objectives of the Study
- To review relevant concept, policy, standards and management strategies of parking in cities.
- To examine the characteristics of parking for commercial developments in Eleme LGA, Rivers State.
- To identify the parking problems associated with commercial developments in Eleme LGA and explanatory factors.
- To make appropriate recommendations.
1.7 Scope and Limitation
This study will focus on characteristics and problems of parking in the commercial areas of Eleme LGA, Rivers State, Rivers State. It will also determine the factors responsible for parking problems and the implications. It is further limited to the problems of parking by commercial developments and by streets.
1.8 Organization of the study
The study is organized into six chapters.
- Chapter one covers; background to the study, statement of the problem, general objective of the study, specific objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, limitation of the study, delimitations of the study, operational definition of terms and organization of the study.
- Chapter two covers review of related literature.
- Chapter Three covers research methodology which includes: introduction, research design, target population, sampling techniques and sample size, data collection instruments, validity and reliability of research instruments, data collecting procedures, data analysis techniques and ethical considerations.
- Chapter four covers research results of the study.
- Chapter five covers discussions and interpretations of research findings.
Summary, Recommendations and Conclusion
5.1.1 Review of the Eleme LGA District Plan
The District plan of Eleme LGA should be reviewed to accommodate the present and future increase in population and commercial activities. It was observed that the existing plan did not provide enough space for the expansion of the ground surface parking lots. The provision did not specify the use of underground and/or storey type of parking facility.
5.1.2 Introduction of Public Parking Garages
Eleme LGA as a big district that commands huge commercial activities needs a systematic plan for high rise parking facilities (Multistoried Car Parks), Surface Car Parks, Roof Car Parks, Park and Ride and Underground Car Parks to take care of the numerous parking problems in it. These should be introduced within the commercial areas especially in areas where large commercial facilities are located. They can take as much as 6-10 times what the ground surface parking system can take. Most empty plots existing in Eleme LGA can be converted for this purpose. The empty plots can be converted for public use while other commercial facilities like plazas, offices and hotels that have bigger spaces can introduce multi-storied parking facilities. For bigger commercial developments like plazas of up to 3 floors and above, underground parking should be introduced. This can equally take several floors underground depending on the size of the commercial development, plot, and future activities. The traffic problems being experienced in the commercial areas of Eleme LGA would be solved if on-street parking is reduced to a barest minimum. Cities like New York and London are where such regulations prohibiting curb parking entirely especially around main cross streets have been enforced. This has proved very successful in speeding up through traffic (Walter, 1940).
5.1.5 Strengthening the Department of Development Control
The Department of Development Control was established to approve and monitor developments in the Rivers State. This aim has been long defeated due to huge level of compromise by the staff of the Department. Most commercial developments in Eleme LGA do not meet the required standards. This is either because the developers have built to their taste before approval is given or after approval the developer influences the site officer in order to have his way. Some of the compromises occur right in the office of the Department especially where people of influence are concerned. There should be proper strengthening of the Department to change the orientation of its Staff and to curb incessant violation of standards which has close link to parking problems. Contravention charges against violators of standard should be reviewed upwards. This is to deter developers from indulging in such acts.
5.2 Areas of Further Research
This research revealed the various parking characteristics and the problems which they contribute in commercial areas. Due to the scope of the issue and the limitations of the study, the results are not able to represent the generalized situation for all urban centres/cities in Nigeria. This study only looks at the two characteristics of parking and the problems associated with them. However, further studies could focus on the following:
- Factors responsible for conversions in the commercial areas of cities and the affect on parking.
- Proposal on the building of light rail system across Eleme LGA District as a means to ease transportation problems.
- The introduction and use of multistoried and underground parking system in Eleme LGA to solve parking and transportation problems.
- The total conversion of Eleme LGA from commercial area to a residential area as a means of resolving the clash between commercial and residential uses in the area.
The demand posed by the various parking characteristics in Eleme LGA and the corresponding problems had been revealed and explained in this study. Eleme LGA being one of the busiest and problematic commercial areas had been used to showcase the numerous parking problems in the Rivers State in particular and other cities of Nigeria in general. Myriads of parking problems experienced in the study area were caused through off-street and on-street parking but mostly by the latter. Most of the off-street parking facilities in the area were highly demanded for because they were in short supplies, thereby leading to the overstretching of the facilities. This led to vehicle owners parking on-street. The various policies, concepts, standards and management of parking were reviewed from other cities while the problems caused by parking characteristics were identified.
The identification of parking problems in Eleme LGA led to the proffering of adequate policy proposals and recommendations for corrective actions. This study helped in providing solutions to the numerous parking problems in major cities of Nigeria and to deter property owners, businessmen and government agencies from aiding corruption and conversion of original land uses to another. Government has a big role to play towards revisiting the District plan of the study area which is characterized by the change of use, accidents, environmental hazards, poor transportation system etc. therefore, this study will provide avenue for government‘s timely review of District Plans. Eleme LGA fell short of modern methods and systems of parking. The area could easily bounce back if adequate modern parking facilities were provided where these had been recommended accordingly in this study.
The study also provided the basis for proper urban management, land use and urban administration which could bring about possible directions for other research work. Finally, it had provided the enabling research and reference document for scholars in planning and urban management studies.
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