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If there isn’t sufficient parking space, increase parking fees- RSTA

Thromde says they already did so in 2015

Thimphu’s parking woes that is worsening by the day, is more to do with poor management rather than a shortage of infrastructure, say road safety and transport authority (RSTA) officials.

“Parking in Thimphu has been handled with inadequate pricing, poor enforcement, no clear strategy, little planning and ineffective management structure,” said   RSTA’s Karma Pemba.

“Charging for parking is one of the simplest ways to manage parking demand because if fees are increased, people would choose not to park in core town areas and the revenue can be used to improve existing facilities or creating new ones.”

Thimphu thromde officials however say that increasing parking fees immediately is not possible because the fees were last revised in 2015. “If we increase again, people are going to protest and it would be very difficult to handle those angry protesters,” a thromde official said.

Thimphu Thromde’s chief engineer, Sangay Wangdi, said the city’s core area suffered from inadequate parking space so multi-parking spaces are being built near Jojo’s building and opposite the Norling building.

“Wherever there is space, we will expand the parking space,” said Sangay Wangdi. “But there must be a rethink and adjustment of existing car and car parking policies because our vehicle population is nearing its peak.”

The lack of parking space is also contributing to traffic snarls and congestion, which has become a norm in the inner city roads. “Around 30 percent of the cars are circling the core areas at any given time looking for parking, it all comes down to having too many cars at the same place at the same time,” said Sangay Wangdi.

RSTA Director General Pemba Wangchuk said that improving public transportation would ease the

parking problem in Thimphu. “If bus services provide good access to the areas, most of the people may choose to ride public transit rather than drive,” he said. “People who live near the area might choose to walk or bike downtown if the sidewalks and bike facilities are good. So it is also necessary to improve sidewalks and bike facilities. Some may choose not to make the trip or drive somewhere else for shopping.”

Meanwhile import of vehicles, mainly from India, continues unabated after the import restriction was lifted in 2014.

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