Thimphu thromde plans to do away with the parking spaces along Norzin Lam and keep the decision to close the street to vehicular traffic in abeyance after shopkeepers appealed against the closure of the street.

There are about 230 parking spaces along Norzin Lam.

Thimphu thrompon, Kinlay Dorjee, said that vehicles would be allowed to park on the roadside with their hazard lights on for about 15 minutes at most. “With the parking lights on, the traffic police won’t let the vehicles to park for more time,” the thrompon added.

The thrompon said that the thromde met with the Norzin Lam business community and the community agreed with the thromde’s plan to do away with the parking spaces along the street as long as the street is not closed to vehicles.

“Some of them said that there are people who park their vehicles in the parking spaces along the Norzin Lam for the whole day because of which motorists including business owners and residents of Norzin Lam don’t get parking,” he said.

The thrompon pointed out that the street has mixed cables underneath and most of the drains are blocked and not serving its purpose. The thromde also has plans to construct a cable duct and a storm water drain under the current parking spaces, which will be covered and leveled with the existing pedestrian walkway.

The plan will be executed only after the completion of the construction of the two multi-level car parks in the capital. The construction of the multi-level car parks on Phendey Lam and Zangthopelri were started in September 2015 and is expected to be completed this year.

The two car parks will provide a total of 550 parking spaces.

A grocery shop owner and a resident in Norzin Lam, Bimla, said that she is against the thromde’s plan to do away with the parking spaces along the street. Her grievance is that the decision will adversely affect their businesses.

“Even if they allow vehicles to stop for sometime to shop, there will still be inconveniences to the shopkeepers and the customers as well,” she said.

Another retailer said that shops require parking spaces whether they have customers or not.

While a restaurant owner said that unlike groceries and garment shops, his customers would take more time. “People would prefer to go to restaurants in other streets where there are parking spaces so the thromde’s plan would affect my business,” he said.

Meanwhile, a 37-year-old business owner said that he doesn’t see any problem with the thromde in doing away with the parking spaces as long as vehicles are still on the street.

He said that people who park their vehicles in front of his shop don’t always visit his shop and it might be the same for others. Some motorists use the parking spaces for the whole day and people who come for shopping have to park their vehicles elsewhere.

“Motorists have to make two to three rounds of the city to get a parking space along  Norzin Lam,” he said. “Allowing vehicles to stop for about 15 minutes will give everyone a chance to stop near the shop they wish to visit.”

However, he is worried that he may not have a parking space for his vehicle as he lives along Norzin Lam. “I don’t have a problem parking my vehicle in the multi-level car parks as long as it is safe there,” he said. “I hope the thromde will provide security in the multi-level car parks at all times.”

Another retailer said that it is fine with him as long as vehicles are allowed to stop for a while to shop.

Dechen Tshomo