By Rup Narayan Dhakal–Pokhara is said to be a tourism capital of Nepal and entrepreneurs from this city also have been urging to formally declare the city as such capital but the ground reality of the city is very ironic if we look into the parking and traffic management system of the city. It might be the matter of shame for outsiders but it is common and day to day reality that the residents from Pokhara use the busy roads lanes as parking lots for their vehicles.
Generally, vehicle drivers might seem the responsible behind the messy parking of the city but the key culprit itself is Pokhara Lekhnath Metropolitay City (PLMC) office that formally has given the approval to use the busy roads as parking areas. PLMC has been receiving revenue from contractor for granting the busy roads as parking use. This is very disgusting that the PLMC itself is the key culprit of messy Pokhara. This is also very unfortunate that PLMC which should be accountable to its citizen and for the tidy and systematic Pokhara, has rented the road belts as parking areas.
When drivers and owners of the vehicles use the left and right lane of the road as parking area, the width of the road happens to be very narrow that creates hurdles in passing the vehicles ahead. The traffic not only seems mess but also creates jam and lengthy queue of the vehicles. Same has been happening here in Pokhara for years now. It was not so big problem when there used to be few numbers of vehicles in the town but the problem created as the vehicle number skyrocketed in recent couple of years.
So, the PLMC outright should scrap the existing contract regarding parking and the roads should be left as roads instead of using as parking areas. No country in the world perhaps rents her road lanes as parking lot for the sake of money. It’s very disgusting to rent the road lanes as parking sides. Please stop renting them outright. If it’s not possible to do very soon, don’t renew the contract of Parking with the respective party or company. Also don’t announce any new bidding regarding the road parking system.
When roads are being narrow due to the parking in the two sides of those roads, how could there be expected the systematic trafficking and constant vehicular movement in the city? One positive happening is that the footpaths of the major Pokhara roads seem clear in recent days. They used to be encroached by the vendors and parked vehicles but this situation is hardly witnessed in recent times. It is one of the good news of traffic management system of Pokhara. So, now it’s the turn of road lanes that should be left cleared from the parking of vehicles. At a time when Pokhara is facing traffic jam, the city is now a state capital of Province 4. More government and private vehicles have been added following this situation in the city. Around 2 lakhs vehicles daily ply in Pokhara roads but there are very few number of traffic police to manage them.
Though roads are being used as paid parking areas, it is like wining a war to get the parking space during rush hour in the downtown of Pokhara. People park their private cars in one place and march long distance to reach their destination due to parking problem. To solve all those problems, PLMC should develop certain parking areas in certain places. Open areas near road sides should be utilized as parking areas. The PLMC should also cooperate with private sector to develop paid parking areas. Public private partnership model would be the best option to curb the parking problem of Pokhara.
Moreover, heavy vehicles should be barred from entering the key city area and should construct the bypass roads. Multistory parking buildings could also be constructed. The government also develop public bus service friendly situation. Such service should be timely and passenger friendly. Public bus services should be encouraged instead of private vehicles. Map of the new building should be approved only after the incorporation of the parking lot.