Parking will be banned in the lot in front of the main entrance of New Market, by the clock tower on Lindsay Street, as the authorities firm up plans to begin construction of the country’s first underground, multi-layered, computerised parking lot next week. Mayor Subrata Mukherjee said the road above the parking lot, to be built at an estimated Rs 20 crores, will be converted into a pedestrian plaza.
Calcutta Municipal Corporation’s (CMC) chief engineer (projects & development) Nilangshu Bose and DC (traffic) M.K. Singh held a discussion last week to make alternative parking arrangements in the New Market area during the period of construction. Temporary facilities will be created at three places: beside the Esplanade vomitory of the Metro Rail on Jawaharlal Nehru Road, on the small strip adjacent to Bidhan (Maidan) Market and in front of the Hudco building on Free School Street.
“We are planning to open the Lindsay Street pedestrian plaza before the Pujas and the multi-layered underground parking facility on New Year’s eve,” said Mukherjee on Wednesday. The Rs 20-crore joint venture project between the CMC and Simplex Projects Limited will begin with the digging of the ‘trial trench’ to assess sub-soil conditions and the diversion of underground utility lines required for the construction. The parking lot will accommodate 250 cars, against the present on-road parking capacity of only 96 cars.
Five glass cages, each little larger than a car, will be visible at the junctions of Bertram Street, Free School Street, on the side of Tottee Lane (off Globe cinema), on the eastern side of New Market and on Lindsay Street. After the underground parking lot and the pedestrian plaza are complete, a narrow — about one-fourth the present width of the road — fenced lane will be kept open for vehicles for the convenience of business establishments on the southern side of Lindsay Street.
The larger part of the road will be turned into a tree-lined pedestrian plaza, complete with modern car parking facilities, fountains and telephone kiosks.
A car parked at the Free School Street end of the lot can be returned to its owner at the Bertram Street end. The car will be left on a computer-operated elevator in the glass cage, which will carry the vehicle underground. A mechanical carrier will then pick up the vehicle and place it on the assigned slot.
This will be the city’s second Parkomat. The country’s first hi-tech parking plaza, popularly known by its international brand name, was commissioned on Rawdon Street, near the Park Street crossing last year.
Municipal commissioner Debasis Som has started a dialogue for the parking lot with Simplex Projects Limited — the sole importer of the automatic car parking lot technology of Aarding, Holland. Simplex Projects senior commercial manager G. Dasgupta said: “After the success of the first Parkomat (Simpark, as he termed it), my company is ready to take up the challenge of constructing the more-sophisticated, underground, automatic parking lot”.