Traders in New Road area seeking alternative parking spaces

Kathmandu, Feb. 21: Nearly a month has passed since the Kathmandu Metropolitan City announced a ban on vehicles parking on black-topped roads in the New Road area. However, a dispute persists between traders, ward-level authorities and the metropolis regarding the decision. 

Chini Kaji Maharjan, chairperson of Ward No. 22 of the metropolis, has strongly opposed the sudden ban on parking, effective since January 23, in the New Road area. He said that the decision was made without consulting and coordinating with the wards resulting in adverse effects on the market.

According to the ward chair, an alternative parking arrangement should be made nearby the market area to facilitate both consumers and businessmen. Stating that the ward was all prepared with plans to manage parking in the area, he said that contracts for the parking should be awarded to the wards and local bodies that had insights about the current situation.

Meanwhile, the Kathmandu Metropolitan City has long emphasised in its annual programmes and policies implementing smart parking in the main roads of the metropolis for better traffic management. In its programmes and policies of the fiscal year 2022/023 and 2023/024, it stated that the private sector would be awarded for the construction of vertical parking to manage the pressure of public and private vehicles.

However, the metropolis made a unilateral decision to remove parking without proposing alternatives.

Sagar Shakya, chairperson of Khichhapokhari New Road Business Association, said that a reduction in business of approximately 25 per cent had been observed due to the sudden parking ban. He said, “Unilateral and sudden decision of the metropolis has reduced business in the area. Who will be accountable for it?” He said the government must facilitate its taxpayers. Instead of imposing regulations without feasibility study and possible consequences, it should come up with alternative solutions.

Bijay Shahi, an employee at a mobile store in New Road, said customer flow had decreased since the parking ban. He said, “Earlier, customers would look for and inquire about products and buy them, but now they make quick purchases. They buy what they need and leave.”

Moreover, the ban not only affected customers but also businessmen. According to Shahi, now they didn’t have space for parking their vehicles. He said, “We used to park our two-wheelers at Tamrakar Complex for Rs. 1,000 per month. However, now it’s unavailable, and the new rate is Rs. 25 per hour. If we park for at least nine hours, it costs Rs. 225 per day and Rs. 6,750 per month.”

In the New Road area, private parking spaces in commercial buildings are experiencing overcrowding. Madan Chaudhary, working at the Tamrakar Plaza’s parking, said parking services for businessmen had been cut off due to their vehicles occupying spaces for extended hours. Instead, they had prioritised parking availability for customers to ensure rotation and access.

The ban also hampers individuals like Jaya Ram Bista from Balaju, who visits New Road for services like laptop repair as he could hardly find experts in the field nearby his home. Bista expresses confusion over parking options and the impracticality of parking in distant locations like Kathmandu Tower. 

However, commoners have hailed the decision. 

“I came to see New Road after the metropolis imposed a parking ban. 

The roads look beautiful, clean and open to stroll around. I hail 

the move,” said Bijay Pande an engineering student of a Kathmandu-based college.      

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