Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos, again, fulfilled one of his electoral promises with the completion and commissioning of a multi-level car park and facility building at Onikan to improve transportation on the axis. Muritala Ayinla writes
“I don’t like driving to Lagos Island; the challenge of parking space is usually cumbersome. As you struggle over where to park, LASTMA,CBD officers are also running after you in addition to the ‘Area Boys’. In Lagos, especially on the island, driving isn’t a luxury at all but a big burden,” lamented a motorist, Kamal Ibrahim. The 28-year-old surveyor, was about looking for a parking space when the men of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, (LASTMA) arrested him for indiscriminate parking along the ever-busy Onikan.
Although he claimed he had not parked before he was arrested by the traffic management officers, his lamentation represents the views and frustration many Lagos motorists experience on daily basis when driving on Lagos Island, especially the Central Business District areas. Parking space has always been a major challenge in Lagos and consequently contribute to the transportation bottleneck in the state. Indeed, Lagos has the largest number of cars on the street in the country, thus experts are of the views that provision of adequate supporting infrastructure would not only boost the economy of the state but also enhance the capacity of small and medium scale enterprises in and around the nation’s commercial nerve centre.
But to tackle the problem, which has invariably made transportation experience more difficult, the state government,in June 2013, conceived the idea of multi-level park at Onikan axis to service the primary social centres in the neighbourhood with parking needs.
The project was expected to deal with the age long parking problem which often forced motorist to park on the roadside and cause traffic gridlock. With the multi-level park facility, parking activities will be conducted and coordinated in safe and comfortable environment, just as the age long parking problem along this axis will certainly be addressed, while free flow of traffic is expected to take place in and around Onikan as traffic obstruction associated with the indiscriminate parking will no longer be an excuse. Speaking at the commissioning ceremony, the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo- Olu described the project as a fulfilment of his administration’s promise of ensuring the completion of all inherited projects that fits into the THEMES Agenda. This, he said, is done with the belief that it will extend development across Lagos and grow the economy of the State through a robust infrastructure portfolio.
The governor said that the facility building is significantly important because of its large size parking capacity, income generation potential and its location strategically within the heart of Onikan, adding that Its judicious use will no doubt help absorb vehicles that would have otherwise parked on the roadside and other illegal parking places along the corridor with its attendant negative impact on traffic flow He said: “From the inception of our administration till now, we have continually worked to deliver projects that will directly impact on the lives of all Lagosians. Our admnistration has completed several iconic projects and the multilevel car park facility we are commissioning today is another step towards the fulfilment of the Pillar ‘T’, which stands for TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT AND TRANSPORTATION in our THEMES Agenda. This is a major standpoint of our admnistration as traffic management is a major driver of our economy.
“Lagos Island could be modestly referenced as one of the largest commercial corridors in the state. There is therefore, a corresponding increase in commuting, especially, high volume of vehicular traffic including social activities, culminating in traffic gridlock and pressure along this corridor. This multi-level facility building will service the stadium and other primary social centres such as Island Club, Yoruba Tennis Club, Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, King George V Park, Police Command Recreational Centre as well as other facilities in the neighbourhood and fix the parking requirements generated by these centres. “ According to the governor, the administration remained committed to meeting the needs of every Lagosian irrespective of the tribe, ethnic or other divides,adding that the commitment necessitated his giant strides in all the sector. “We promised that our government will work for all, no matter your race, creed or gender.
Several months after, we are still committed to this cause and this has neccesiated that we expand and extend the reach of infrastructure to fastrack growth and development across the state,” he added. The governor said that the 6th floor of the facility is a mixed-use multipurpose space consisting of two banquet halls which can be used as an auditorium sitting almost 1000 people and for ceremonial use to accommodate over 600 guests. He said that the facility is also designed with offices for tickets and restrooms on each floor.
“This beautiful edifice also has spaces designed for a private club house with other complementary facilities which will also help in aiding smooth vehicular movement. Some of its special features also include but not limited to an automated ticketing system, water treatment plant, fire alarm systems, CCTV for proper monitoring of vehicles parked, data network and a 24/7 power supply.
“Undoubtedly this infrastructure will bring to Lagos Island axis great improvements, it will serve the purpose of reducing indiscriminate parking and greatly resolve traffic gridlocks and that is moving towards the Smart Megacity of our dream; a Lagos where no one is slowed down and where we all succeed together.” Governor Sanwo-Olu, however, charged residents of the state to take responsibility for the government’s assets and treat it as their personal property.
“Let us ensure that we see public assets as our own assets. Let us ensure that we pay what we ought to pay so that a facility like this can continue to be in a good place,” the governor said. Speaking on the feature of the project, the Special Adviser on Works and Infrastructure Engineer Aramide Adeyoye, said that for emphasis, the scope of works for the project include but not limited to the parking floors with a capacity for 384 vehicles with offices for tickets and rest rooms on each floor. She said: “The 6th floor is designated as multi-purpose mixed use consisting of club house (410sqm capacity),banquet rooms, with sitting capacity of 800 and 600 persons each, water treatment plant, elevators and staircases for smooth pedestrian movement, fire alarm systems, CCTV, data network and power.” She said the facility would help create jobs and reduce traffic congestion.
Engineer Adeyoye also noted that the facility will also reduce traffic congestion, enhance safety and security along the corridor, and of course provide aesthetically pleasing environment. “More importantly, this project will complement all our efforts around the Tourism infrastructure within the precinct of Onikan,” she said. Other dignitaries at the commissioning ceremony were the state’s Deputy Governor, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, members of the state executive council, Deputy Speaker of the Lagos House of Assembly, Hon Wasiu Esinlokun, the white cap chiefs, captains of industry among others.