Lhakpa Quendren

Lack of parking spaces in residential areas and poorly-managed parking facilities in parts of Thimphu city often force vehicle owners to park on a roadside and footpath.

This has not only led to frequent traffic congestion, but pedestrians have to resort to walking on the roads, especially when no traffic police personnel are around.

For instance, among many, cars parked along the road between the flyover bridge to Deki School at Changzamtog cause inconvenience for other vehicles to commute.

A 52-year-old taxi driver, Leki Dorji, said that the illegal parking hampers easy movement of traffic and inconveniences pedestrians.

“We also get pressure from our passengers when we get stuck in traffic jams and delay their travel,” he said, adding that some passengers reserve the taxi just to reach the office on time.

“I feel such parking encroachments are causing unnecessary traffic congestion, especially in the morning and evening when students and office goers are going,” he added.

The lack of underground parking in buildings and missing markings on parking around the residential areas has led to illegal roadside parking.

A police official said that roadside parking is a controversial issue.

“When one parks the vehicle on the roadside, others also park.  Then everyone feels that they can also park,” he said. “Road is for the vehicles to move. Where there is two-way traffic movement, there should not be roadside parking.”

He said without proper marking, vehicles are parked on the roadside without any consideration for other commuters. “When there is no marking, it is not possible for the police to enforce,” he said.

The thromde and the Road Safety and Transport Authority once completed marking roads and parking lots, he said, the traffic police will monitor and penalise defaulters.

“If parking space has been created, mark it properly and show it to us so that we can implement it,” he said. “It is our duty to enforce and we don’t have any problem in enforcement.”

However, thromde is not able to mark the parking due to a lack of budget, a source said.

Thromde requires the building owners to either allocate parking space near the establishment or have underground parking for tenants. However, house owners are found to convert allocated parking spaces for other purposes.

A thromde official said that illegal roadside parking remains the biggest challenge despite repeated issuance of notifications. “We are working on marking the parking lots. Once it completes, it would be easier for traffic police to monitor.”

As per the rule, vehicles have to be either parked in their private residential parking or in designated government parking lots, and roadside parking is strictly prohibited.