Urban planners prefer pedestrianization over removing traffic space

Though Thimphu thromde has announced its decision to remove parking space along Norzin Lam, the plan is facing serious opposition from business owners, house owners and hotels along Norzin Lam.

Thrompon Kinlay Dorjee’s plan of removing the parking space but not going for pedestrianization for a section of the road is also opposed by his own urban planners.

After studying the feasibility of the plan, urban planners suggested to Thrompon that he should reconsider his decision to remove parking space along Norzin Lam.

They said that instead of removing parking space in Norzin Lam, thromde should pedestrianize 500 meters of road above Jhomolhari Hotel till Traffic because only this stretch is found to be feasible after a study carried out by the team as it is in this area where so many events are organized and people would like to come here to spend their time with their kids.. However, Thrompon insisted on removing the parking space and will go ahead with his plan despite opposition from his own planners.

An official from the Urban Planning Division under Thimphu thromde said, though the Thimphu Structure Plan, planned to pedestrianize the whole stretch from BOD till chubachu roundabout but after studying the feasibility, the planners requested Thrompon to pedestrianize only 500 meters because it is not feasible and nowhere in the world, one will find a pedestrianized area of 1.5 kilometers, as it is too long and nobody will walk such a long stretch.

He said, the urban planners suggested Thrompon that this is not how it works and they should program it, “but he doesn’t listen and we don’t know what to do.”

He said, “Thromde has initially planned to pedestrianize Norzin Lam and in pedestrianization, no private vehicles will be allowed except for buses and emergency vehicles but the Thrompon said that thromde will not pedestrianize Norzin Lam and will still allow cars to ply on the road but they shall not be allowed to park their car except for 5 minutes.”

“As an Urban Planner, I feel that if we want to pedestrianize Norzin Lam we should do it now and if we don’t do it now and if we fail to do it today it will never happen,” he said.

“As an Urban Planner and having studied the feasibility, we said that it would be wise if we pedestrianize only 500 meters of road since only this stretch is feasible and we are also suggesting that we should leave the other stretch in the future because we want to try with the first stretch and if this successfully work, automatically people might demand other stretch in the future. Going beyond this, let us leave this to the market force and people’s feedbacks. And that is where the plan becomes more viable and good.”

“To be very honest, I feel that there isn’t any need to discuss with the government in detail because the plan to pedestrianize Norzin Lam is mentioned in the Thimphu Structure Plan,” he said.

“The government’s mistake is that they take unilateral decision without consulting local government. They should at least give thromde a chance to present our plan or hear our plan but the former government has failed to do so,” he said.

He said there are only few taxi drivers and shopkeepers lobbying but most of the people are with them.

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