Parking on most streets around Pokhara is un-managed and haphazard. The population of Pokhara itself is increasing and an increasing number of both Private and Public Vehicles are also creating parking difficulties in major locations around Pokhara. According to 2072/73 ministry of physical infrastructure and transport managment data, total 13,757 vehicles were registered in Gandaki province. Popular hubs like Newroad, Chipledhunga, Mahendrapool, Prithivichowk, Lakeside, etc. are full of unmanaged private vehicles and public vehicles. Pokhara is getting congested day by day as people migrate from different places to Pokhara looking for better opportunities such as education, health, entertainment and other infrastructural facilities which holistically is adding to parking Problems. Pokhara is facing major problems with parking space, strict parking rules and regulation. The Metropolitan Traffic Police have failed to curb the issue despite stringent action of fines and penalties against those who park private vehicles in unauthorized way the “chain-locking’’ system of traffic police has not minimized rampant parking under control.
Main problems in parking
- Insufficient parking space.
- Lack of strict parking policies.
- Less number of paid parking areas.
Pokhara’s population density is increasing day by day. Number of private vehicles are also increasing. Majorly Private vehicles can be seen parked along the roads from Sabhagriha to New road, which covers about two kilometers distance. The area comprises various business organizations, banks and other financial institutions, consultancies, electronic markets, food joints, shopping centers which attract consumers, students, and public which results in market congestion. Though the concept of pay and park has been initiated ‘Pay-and-Park” parking lots are all under-used, while chaos continues in the nearby side streets where there is practically no management or enforcement. There are few buildings that were built with underground parking but are using it for commercial purpose and PMC is seen reluctant in taking action against them.
Though PMC has been opening parking tenders since 2057. But since 2075, no companies have applied for the tender. In 2075, PMC opened parking tender for 2 years as starting bid price of seven crore fifty-seven lakh in first notice. No one applied. For fourth notice, PMC they re-opened tender on half of their early bid price i.e. three crore fifty-six lakh only. 3 companies applied but PMC rejected all those three companies on the basis of their competencies.
PMC is frequently trying different parking techniques. Double parking on road was practiced at the beginning to overcome insufficient parking space. Later it was believed that it congested the road and number of accidents was increased because of double parking. Metropolitan came-up with angular parking it worked for some time, and again it was changed to parallel parking. PMC has been collecting good amount of revenue from unauthorized parking. As of FY 2074/75 more than 43251were punished for unauthorized parking, from which rupees three crore thirty lakh thirteen thousand and five hundred amount of fine and Penalty revenue was collected.
Coping with the increasing number of vehicles and growing parking problem PMC must come-up with innovative solutions.
Recommendations for parking management:
- ‘Non-stop’ No stop in route local buses
Though the distance of Pokhara valley are reachable within 20 minutes a local bus are seen to take around 1.5 hour or even more to complete the journey which makes public reluctant to use public buses. If the metropolitan bus service run in the cities without in route stops will motivate public toward using city buses for their transit which will decrease the vehicles congestion around city centers and markets.
- Automated/ semi-automated parking system:
An automated parking system is a mechanical system designed to minimize the area and/or volume required for parking cars. A semi-automatic parking system is a mechanical system applied in a parking facility near the parking place in order to make extra parking spaces available there by lifting the car, sliding the car side wards, or a combination of both.
- Community Parking garage or Parking House
Community Parking garage is a place built for parking purpose only. Underground parking and parking house might be the best solutions for Pokhara city as its growing population. Parking house is simply a house made for parking vehicle purposes. Alternatively using schools and colleges parking, Hotels parking during long holidays and weekends and festivals can be new approach to the parking problem.
- Smart parking lot:
According to a research conducted in France, a person spends almost four years in lifetime while looking for a parking space. Efficient parking system will help in minimizing search time and reduce vehicular emissions. Sensors are used in parking areas to monitor parking capacity and availability of spaces and increase fee revenue and create jobs. This information is transmitted electronically to a central platform that evaluates the data and communicates with the costumers.
- Concept of parking card system:
Concept of parking card must come up for better management of parking facilities. PMC must start parking card system that will generate monthly/yearly revenue from parking directly from the vehicle operators.
Author: Pawan Pathak and Deepa Adhikari