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Francistown’s parking dilemma

Francistown's parking dilemma
NO FREE SPOT: Blue Jacket Street

1982 Parking Levy haunts the city as deficit stands at 2 355 parking spots

The City of Francistown is facing a daunting task of availing parking space to the ever increasing traffic volume within the city.

The available road infrastructure is currently under pressure, particularly parking within the Central Business District (CBD).

According to a Parking Study report by the City of Francistown Physical Planning Committee, the city needs a total of 3 794 parking spaces but currently total parkings provided onsite stands at 1 439.

“This means there is a deficit of 2 355 parking spots,” said the Chief Physical Planning, Housing and Estate Management Officer Gobusamang Bogorogile reporting to the Full Special Council on Thursday.

“Shortage of parking is further exacerbated by vendors who use parking as vending space. Currently 36 parking spots are occupied by vendors,” said Bogorogile.

The study was based on the core business area of Francistown, an area running along the eastern side of the railway line from Thapama Interchange up to where Haskins and Blue Jacket Street meet (Engine Filling Station.

Bogorogile said single storey developments in the city are not compelled to make provision for parking within the plots as their parkings are catered for within the on-street parkings. He further said anything more than a single storey, developers should make parking provision.

He said despite this layout design of the CBD, there are some developments which are more than one storey but without any parking provided within the plots.

Bogorogile gave an example of Barclays Plazza, which a multiple storey building with no parking.

“This I’m told was done due to the Parking Levy Policy that was started by Council in 1982/3. According to this policy, developers were given a waiver to develop with parking shortfall subject to payment of an offsite parking levy,” Bogorogile told Council.

The Chief Physical Planner further said another major concern is lack of proper and designated loading and offloading points.

He said some major outlets such as supermarkets, did not strategically locate their loading and offloading bays as these are allocated along the road, opposite street parking bays.

“It becomes a problem during offloading and loading as the bays don’t have sufficient turning radius for the big trucks, and they end up occupying parking space,” he said.

Bogorogile then recommended a metered parking which will control the amount of time a person could use a parking spot.

He also suggested that vendors be moved from parking spaces through periodic patrols by members of Law Enforcement.

His other recommendations included a multi-level parking/deck at the old immigration or FCE, an underground parking and a park and ride strategy at Phase 4 Industrial.

However these recommendations, were shot down by a couple of councillors who argued that it is nothing new. Leading the charge was Specially Elected Member Zazambi Tuelo.

“I was at Primary School when the then Mayor Peter Ngoma talked about these very same issues. today I’m in this council and Ngoma is still talking about the same issues. When will these resolutions be implemented?” asked Tuelo.

His sentiments were shared by Ngoma, who reminded council that the policy of metered and underground parking was adopted 20 years ago.

“To some of you these resolutions are new, and you don’t have a problem if they are implemented after 10 years; but for me it will mean the resolutions took four decades to be implemented,” said Ngoma.

Monarch West Ward Councillor Godfrey Kaelo said, recommendations made at council should be implemented as a matter of urgency.

“Voters think we are good for nothing. How can we talk about the same things for 20 years and there’s no action,” asked Kaelo.