Careless, disorganized and unplanned development is the primary reason for the capital city’s parking woes according to urban planning engineers and the situation is destined to get worse as vehicle numbers balloon by the day.
According to Development Control Regulation 2016 every building residential and non residential is required to retain parking space proportionate to the number of dwelling units. Residential building drawings are passed only for if there is provision for the required parking space. But the regulation has not been followed in most cases.
Some buildings submit basement parking drawings but during construction convert it into shops or storerooms while others do not keep adequate area for parking.
As a result Thimphu’s roads meant for traffic flow are choked with cars parked on them at night.
The Thimphu Thromde frustrated with the problem recently announced that from this month onwards it would penalize such vehicles parked on the roads.
According to the Chief Development Control Officer, Palden Khandu, there are different classes of residential buildings with 2 bedroom units, 3 bedroom units, duplexes, studio apartments and 4 bedroom units. “We have different parking requirements depending upon the number of units and types of units,” he said. “DCR 2016 states, 1 parking slot for each dwelling unit with 3 bedrooms and 1 parking slot for 2 units of 2 bedrooms”.
Similarly there are different types of non-residential buildings and the parking requirements depend on number of units and types of units.
“The architects and engineers carrying out the design should understand the regulations and should also understand the parking requirement for each unit,” he said.
If there is not enough space the solution can either be a basement parking or ground floor parking. Basement is defined as a structure that is below the ground. “So, if someone is willing to keep the ground floor fully as a parking, then maybe we can consider that as a basement and give the person permission to build another floor,” Palden Khandu said.
But he pointed out that people do not want to use the ground floor for parking because is the most accessible point for any commercial activities. But people could build parking below the ground so that commercial activities happen on the ground floor to meet the parking requirement without having to increase the height of the building.