Shopkeepers rule the roost at public parking spaces in valley

Kathmandu, August 8

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.

As many as 14 four-wheelers were forced to re-route from Durbarmarg within a span of 30 minutes today after being unable to find parking space. Traffic police do not allow vehicles to stop on the road unless they are parked properly.

Shiva Pradhan, a businessman, had come to visit a bank there. But as there was no parking space, he sent his assistant to complete the job while he himself kept moving and stopping the vehicle temporarily at multiple places waiting for the man to return.  “My man is inside the bank. Until he returns, I will have to stay inside the car and keep moving and halting the vehicle to avoid traffic police,” he said.

Similar was the scene at New Road. Locals said shopkeepers occupied the parking area from eight in the morning until the market closed at night.

This has not only created created hassles for visitors, but also affected business as people tend to avoid the area due to lack of parking space.

Pujan Maharjan, a local of Basantapur, said, “Shopkeepers do not allow vehicles to park in front of their shops.”

Pramod Joshi, a jewellery shop owner at New Road, who had parked his own car in front of his shop, said, “I am ready to park my car elsewhere, but the government has not provided us an option. Moreover, there is no rule that says shopkeepers can’t park their vehicles in parking spaces designated by the government.”

Metropolitan Traffic Police Division in-charge SSP Basant Pant, however, said, “Not allowing shopkeepers to occupy parking lots from morning to night could help reduce the problem of parking to some extent.”

Metropolitan Traffic Police Division has designated 104 public parking areas in Kathmandu Metropolitan City and Lalitpur Metropolitan City. All parking areas are temporary and city police of KMC and LMC are managing these parking areas.

Sub-inspector Rajendra Devkota of the KMC’s city police unit at MTPD said they took action against an average of 40 motorbikes for wrongful parking daily. He, however, said they had no authority to take action against vehicles for occupying the parking space for a long time.

KMC Spokesperson Gyanendra Karki said the only feasible and effective way to tackle the problem of parking space was to hike parking fee. “We have identified 82 parking areas where private vendors will be allowed to charge four-wheelers Rs 80 to Rs 120 for parking,“ said Karki.