The Addis Ababa Trade Bureau closed 121 shops for conducting business in underground parking areas of buildings.
Most of the shops were in Bole area and sold items like mobile phones, clothing, food and cosmetics. Other areas which had a large number of shops include: Addis Ketema, Arada and Nifas Silk sub cities.
City regulations prohibit people from engaging in business transactions in areas designated for parking. When this rule is ignored more people park cars along the street and traffic congestion increases.
Yonas Abraham, Trade Supervision Officer at the Addis Ababa Trade Bureau told Capital that much of the problem comes from unscrupulous land lords.
“Some building owners partition the ground space into 10 small rooms and rent them for up to 10,000 birr. Then they ask people who come to the offices and shops to park their cars outside the building which clogs the streets,” he said.
In order to address parking issues in the city, the Addis Ababa City Administration is building smart and surface car parks.
The 15-storey smart car parks being built around Megenagna, near Zefmesh business center, will begin operating soon after the next Ethiopian New Year. Three buildings, each with the capacity to accommodate 30 cars, will be built in this area.
The city administration is also thinking of building similar car parks around Churchill road and in front of Grand Anwar Mosque in Merkato, the city’s biggest open market.
In addition to the smart car parks, the construction of surface car parks, each with the capacity to accommodate 49 vehicles, is underway in other parts of the city, he added.
The construction of a concrete parking lot, which could accommodate 500 vehicles, will be commenced soon at a place commonly known as Shola Gebeya, Berhanu noted. Addis Ababa’s new 10-year master plan requires building to incorporate 60 car park spaces.
According to many urban planners, providing more parking lots becomes unsustainable as a city develops with more high-rise buildings. Like road construction, it is very difficult for supply to keep up with the demand. The other option is parking management, which involves assessing urban land use, making use of the space in the best way possible and providing non-motorized and rapid transit alternatives so that parking demand is reduced.