Efforts Made to Ease Parking, Traffic Congestion in Lagos


Efforts Made to Ease Parking, Traffic Congestion in Lagos

Lagos State Parking Authority (LSPA), a government entity managing parking in Nigeria’s Lagos State that also happens to host Lagos city, the country’s largest, has a motto that says, ‘Park Easy, Move Quickly’.

But the Authority is struggling to ease vehicle parking management in Lagos State, including Lagos coastal city of more than 15 million people, as the traffic congestion, one of the worst in Africa, chokes transportation operations.

Lagos city, created in 1861, is now among the list of 20 largest megacities in the world.

LSPA is determined to streamline parking operations and hence reduce the strangehold traffic congestion that has stifled transportation services across Lagos State.

“We can’t tackle congestion in Lagos without addressing traffic issues and parking is part of hence the reason why LSPA was created,” said LSPA general manager Adebisi Adelabu in a previous media interview.

For example, LSPA, founded in 2021, by the Lagos State government, has recently launched the registration of all car parking operators as well as unveiling categories of parking fees for all on-street and off-street parking facilities.

“On-street parking is the major cause of congestion in Lagos,” Adelabu said.

“There is already a culture of parking, especially in Lagos city, and drivers have been paying for the service only that they have been paying to faceless people who operated without any regulation and were not answerable to anyone,” she added.

She said LSPA is carrying out, in a phased manner, the process of bringing on board the informal parking operators as well as local governments in Lagos State since “parking is a collective issue of all stakeholders in the transportation sector.”

“Any potential concessionaire that has a solid business plan should submit it to LSPA and we will look at it and if it is viable, we’ll say come and partner with us,” added Adelabu.

“We will give them permits to operate within certain areas of Lagos State and that is where joint partnerships come in with LSPA,” she said.

The LSPA general manager said there are several off-street parking facilities in Lagos and all that LSPA wants to do is “capture the database and know what it is that is operating the business in Lagos.”

Meanwhile, the Authority is intensifying the education of the city’s residents on the importance of complying with State transportation sector regulations that support development and management of a structured parking within the city.

Adelabu says both the public and private are endeavoring to “create an ideal parking system for the city to ensure it becomes part of life for vehicles owners.”

“If one really wants to address traffic challenges, we need to start from the parking problem and that is why LSPA was established,” she says.

“We are working with the local governments to achieve its mandate in terms of parking,” said Adelabu, a graduate of the University of Greenwich, UK, and immediate former Chief Business Development Officer of Nigeria-based NIMCO Group of Companies.

“If you have a car, you must park it somewhere, and if we really want to address traffic, we have to start by finding solutions to parking, hence we are working collectively with other transport agencies to achieve our mandate,” she said.

Adelabu identified inadequate parking spaces at key areas such as event centers, religious houses, shopping malls and other public buildings as one of the leading reasons for the indiscriminate parking across the Lagos State. There are approximately two million cars in Lagos city.

“The amount of time one takes looking for parking and at traffic jams due to
poor parking is an issue that needs to be dealt with, it has to be done at some point,” said Adelabu.

“As the government is trying to pool revenue into development of infrastructure, lack of adequate parking facilities is causing deterioration of our road infrastructure,” she said, adding “therefore, event centers, religious houses, shopping malls and other public buildings must make necessary provisions for parking spaces.”

“The government (State of Lagos) is concerned in ensuring that Lagos roads are decongested and has invested massively in the provision of a multimodal transportation system for residents across the State,” she said.

Lagos State Traffic Management Agency (LASTMA), a State-owned agency that ensures free flow of traffic in the Lagos State and reduction in road accidents, says Lagos is an emerging Smart City that is requires “a safe, reliable, effective and efficient integrated multi-modal transportation system.”

Some of the measures by the Lagos State government in streamlining the chaotic transportation include modernizing the Lagos City’s roundabouts/junction, installation and management of traffic signal lights, development of the 37km Lagos Rail Mass Transit, expansion of the Lagos Ferry Services Company operations to new areas, introduction of the 27km Blue Line project and deployment of modern technology to ease ticketing of transportation/parking services.

Moreover, Lagos State’s Deputy Director, Public Affairs, Ministry of Information & Strategy, Ministry of Information & Strategy, Tayo Ogunbiyi, recently said the LSPA has been empowered by the State government to “remove all impediments arising from indiscriminate parking on carriageways, thereby increasing the carriageway capacity on the roads, improving the flow of traffic and reducing travel time.”

Residents of Lagos city may prefer using public means of transport to move in and around the city but the available transit systems are inadequate and mismanaged hence the proliferation of private cars.

For example, Lagos State, requires an estimated 40,000 buses although a recent survey shows only 829 buses are available.

Statistics by Lagos State’s Ministry of Transport show there were 238,226 vehicles registered in Lagos State in 2018. Although this number declined by 35.33 percent in 2019, private cars had the lion’s share of the total registered vehicles at 82.5 percent or 127,058 cars.

The dominance of private cars on Lagos State’s roads, and decades of unstructured parking management, has been blamed for the many decades of traffic congestion in the city of Lagos.

Lack of vehicle parking management systems has previously been linked to drivers parking, for free, along one-way roads hence aggravating the traffic congestion.

LSPA has in recent months attempted to impose parking restrictions including introducing monetary and non-monetary costs of parking although such measures have been met with resistance from drivers and in some instances led to court cases challenging enforcement of parking fee charges.

Across all the 20 local governments within Lagos State, LSPA has directed individuals and corporate organizations to pay for building setbacks, the space between private property perimeter fencing and the walkways or the roads with effect February 2022.

Adelabu says despite Lagos’ parking challenges, there is optimism the maxim ‘park easy, move quickly’ will become reality for “the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”

Shem Oirere is PT’s editor on the ground in Africa. He can be reached at Shem@shemoirere.com

Article contributed by:
Shem Oirere
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