KMC, LMC fail to ease parking woes

Kathmandu, August 18

Although Kathmandu Metropolitan City and Lalitpur Metropolitan City have been promising to ease parking woes in the valley, the problem is getting worse every passing day with the increase in the number of vehicles .

Public parking areas designated by the government in busy market areas are found largely occupied by vehicles of shopkeepers all day long. This has been creating hassles for short-term parkers, especially those with four-wheelers. For instance, it is almost impossible for visitors to find a space to park their vehicles in public parking areas at Durbarmarg, New Road, Narayanchaur, Bagbazar, Balkhu and Sorhakhutte.

There are 104 public parking areas in Kathmandu Metropolitan City and Lalitpur Metropolitan City. Majority of such parking areas are created on the one side of roads which cannot be accounted for permanent solution to parking problems. KMC plans to build multi-story automated parking buildings in places like Dharmapath and Thamel and underground parking areas at Khulamanch and Lainchaur. However, the plans are unlikely to materialise anytime soon.

According to KMC officials, around 200,000 four-wheelers and around 800,000 two-wheelers ply valley roads on a daily basis. Increasing centralisation of core business areas attracts more vehicles to such areas, which ultimately covers more road space for parking. The total length of the road in Kathmandu valley is 1,594.67 km, according to Department of Roads. The numbers of vehicles have doubled in 10 years throughout the country. Data with the DoR and MTPD show there were around 1.2 million vehicles in the country in the fiscal 2010/11. The number had crossed 2.9 million in the fiscal 2017/18.

Lack of parking spaces has also hit taxi drivers. According to the Department of Transport Management, there are around 10,000 taxis plying the streets of Kathmandu valley. Of the 104 public parking areas designated by KMC and LMC, only 40 parking lots can be used to park taxis. Such taxi stands have the capacity of 400 taxis.

The rest of the taxis will either have to keep on re-routing or will have to wait for passengers at places which do not have taxi stands. Head of Physical Infrastructures and Development Department of KMC Ram BahadurThapa said that permanent solution to the parking problem could be possible only if private sector is involved in constructing parking lots. He also said that the municipal meeting of KMC had taken a decision to waive fee for passing the blueprint of underground parking lots of private buildings.

Similarly, the meeting had also made it mandatory for all new government buildings to have  underground parking space.  Thapa also said they were also planning to develop a smart parking app, through which vehicle owners could book parking space.

“Moreover, the mega-structures that government is planning to build — Dharahara and Bag-durbar — will have a space to accommodate 600 four-wheelers at a time,” Thapa said.