Tuesday 13 April 2021
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City parking woes drags on

Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 11.04.13 AM Motorists in Windhoek continue to decry the state of affairs in the capital when it comes to finding parking space, especially in the city centre.  The situation has forced many motorists to use shopping malls for parking, which in itself is a very costly exercise. More and more businesses continue to emerge in the town centre, but the needs of vehicle owners continue to receive little attention. Motorists are now also forced to break the law by parking in non-parking zones.
One motorist, John Matthews, said he normally parks far from the place he intends to go, as a result he is forced to walk a long distance. “There are times when you have an appointment and now you have to circle around an area hoping that someone is leaving. If no one does, you’re forced to find a place far away. So these days I just park my car away from the city centre then do what I want to do on foot.” The challenges that have affected most motorists are a loud cry and have resulted in some motorists receiving fines for infringing the traffic parking laws. Some drivers have stated that they are forced to contravene parking regulations just so they can park within range of their stipulated business. This, however, has led to some motorists receiving traffic fines.
The city has set up designated parking areas around town, some of which are reserved for companies and diplomatic mission offices that are situated in the city centre. Other areas that are not designated but have, however, been taken up as parking areas by public initiative have proven to be unsafe. “My car was broken into recently while it was parked. The worst is that wasn’t even a parking place so it was even difficult to narrate what happened.” said Darius Sibanda.
Members of the public have suggested that city management designate more parking areas, especially in known busy parts of the city centre. They have advised that idle land be developed into public parking to alleviate the current situation. Sibanda said “there is a need for many other parking places because it’s clear that the number of cars has increased with time”. Whereas the city has parking areas around town, the increase in vehicles within the city has outstripped available parking lots. The urban transport plan adopted by Namibia is supposed to reform the transportation system and ensure that it reaches the global requirements of transportation policy and facilities in the city. This would include the construction and restructuring of the current set up of parking systems within the city centre.
Town planners are faced with a head-on challenge to accommodate the changing times and increasing number of motorists in the Khomas region. It was recently reported that Windhoek city had around 118 967 cars, a significant number compared to the available parking spots in the town. Currently, parking is only available in shopping malls where motorists are charged for using such facilities or have to produce proof of purchase to get free parking. The publication questioned the City of Windhoek on its plans to upgrade the current parking system, especially in areas around the city’s Town Square, but the questions were unanswered at the time of going to print.

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