Thimphu Thromde will do away with parking spaces along Norzin Lam, Thimphu’s main thoroughfare, by the end of this year, after the completion of the two multi storied parking lots.
The decision was made during a public consultation meeting last month.
According to the Thromde master plan, Norzin lam was to be made a pedestrian road but people living along the Norzin lam did not favour the idea. It was finally decided that only the parking spaces along the road will be removed.
While shopkeepers were worried that it would affect their business, Thrompon said it would in no way affect their business.
“Around 80 to 90 percent of shopkeepers along Norzin Lam have road access from behind,” said Thimphu Thrompon, Kinlay Dorjee. “If people have heavy things to carry, they can easily do it and light things they can carry themselves. We cannot let shopkeepers unload their goods during the day time, so we will make timing in the evening for them.”
According to Thimphu Thrompon, such new initiatives are important with development and increase in vehicle numbers every year.
“Right now, a large portion of the area is road but footpaths are limited and compact. We can even see people dash into one another as they walk by Norzin Lam. Therefore we will remove the parking spaces and extend the footpaths. Paths used by around 100 people can be used by thousands,” Kinlay Dorjee, said.
The removal of the parking will be done in three phases. There are about 230 parking spaces along the Norzin Lam.
Likewise, The Thimphu Thromde’s plan of doing away with roadside parking has still not been able to gain momentum. Thromde, in collaboration with the traffic police, decided to restrict vehicles to be parked along the roadsides in the entire Thimphu Thromde since May last year.
With the rule, people have to either park their vehicles in their residential parking or in proper government parking areas paying parking fees. Thromde has been able to restrict roadside parking only in the core town area. Earlier, Thromde officials said they will implement the rule in other Thromde areas once they succeed implementing the rule in the main town area.
With almost a year since they started the new rule, Thrompon said repairing the existing roads and extending the parking areas by the roadside is important in order to execute the rule properly.
“In the beginning, we thought we would be able to implement the rule all at once,” said Thrompon,Kinlay Dorjee. “At the moment, we are into repairing the roads and parking areas. Therefore, even the traffic police said it is not likely to put the rule into practice.”
Thromde is also looking for other alternatives to make people construct their own residential parking. Issuance of yearly occupancy certificate is one among others. Thrompon is hopeful that once they start executing the rule, house owners will build proper parking.
“If they don’t have residential parking, the tenants have to keep their vehicles by the road side. As they keep their vehicles by the roadside, we will penalize them. Tenants will then not be able to pay fines every time so they will start looking for houses with proper parking,” Thrompon, Kinlay Dorjee said. He added said they will be able to fully execute the rule by the end of this year.
Meanwhile, Thimphu Thromde will also be able to work on the construction of bus terminal at Olakha. The plan to construct the terminal was approved by the Cabinet in 2004 but Thromde has not been able to execute because of a dispute over the land to be acquired for construction.
The plan remained stranded after the landlords denied accepting the compensation at government rate. Public consultations meetings were held more than ten times over the issue. In a recent public consultation meeting, people decided to give their land at government rate which was revised last year.
“There are few of them who don’t have any other land in the city, so as per the Land Act, Land commission will grant them a plot of land as compensation. We therefore will submit to Land Commission,” Kinlay Dorjee, Thrompon said,
He added that owners were given the choice to either build the terminal on public private partnership model or accept the compensation as per the Land Act. “Construction of the terminal is unavoidable,” he said. “If we look at the current situation at Lungtenzampa, there is severe congestion of traffic and people especially in the morning and evening. It has become a critical situation. So it’s import we start the construction as fast as possible and complete it.”
Thromde is expecting to start construction in the upcoming 12th plan. An area of over six acres belongs to 23 land owners will house the new bus terminal.