Lalitpur Metropolitan City is planning to declare Patan Durbar Square vehicle-free zone from April 14. With the increasing number of vehicles plying the inner roads of the metropolis and keeping in mind the convenience of tourists visiting these areas, Lalitpur Metropolitan City is declaring no-vehicle zone in these areas.
Lalitpur Mayor Chiri Babu Maharjan said the decision has been taken after increasing vehicular movement in Patan Durbar Square discomforted tourists visiting these places.
“Some areas of the Durbar have already been declared as no-go zone for vehicles. However, vehicles are still allowed in some places,” Maharjan told Setopati, “The plying of vehicles prevented tourists from observing culturally significant heritages. Vehicle movement has also increased pollution. That’s why we are preventing vehicles plying in all areas of Durbar Square.”
Lalitpur Metropolitan City is declaring all areas of Durbar Square a completely no-go zone for vehicles after coordinating with the police.
“This campaign was started before we came here in this position. We’re only trying to implement this,” Maharjan said, “Vehicles were prohibited in only one section of the Durbar Square. Now we are prohibiting plying of vehicles from 2.5 km of the pillar installed by UNESCO.
Chief at Metropolitan Traffic Police, Lalitpur Sitaram Hachhethu said he would fully support banning of vehicles in Patan Durbar Square.
“This campaign will help traffic management in heritage sites,” Hachhethu said, “So we will provide our full support and cooperation. We are initiating investigation for this as well. We can adopt various alternatives although it is not easy to start one-way traffic.”
Lalitpur Metropolitan City informed preparations are underway to allow two-way vehicular movement only from 6 am to 8 am from Chauhadhi of Durbar area.
“We may face problems if locals obstruct our campaign. But this will not happen,” Maharjan said, “I have repeatedly told locals about this. I am sure that this campaign will be implemented as vehicle ban will only benefit us.”
Lalitpur Metropolitan City has also said it would add 15 more days if one-month preparation becomes insufficient to make Durbar Square vehicle-free zone. For this, discussions have been held among ward chairpersons and locals.
“Durbar areas have historical, cultural and religious significance. Tourists clicking photos at Durbar Square are often disturbed by vehicle horns,” Maharjan said, “We want to solve all these problems by making Durbar Square vehicle-free zone and Mangal Bazar area one-way traffic.
Metropolitan Traffic Police Division Chief Sarbendra Khanal also assured support even if there are some challenges in order to implement the campaign. “This is quiet a busy area. There are some challenges to make Durbar area a vehicle-free zone and starting one-way traffic at Mangal Bazar area,” Khanal said, “Still mayor sir has started the campaign and we will fully support him.”
The heritage sites in Patan Durbar Square were constructed from between 16th and 17th centuries. Most of the sites were constructed during the period of king Siddhi Narsingh Malla, Sri Niwas and Yogendra Malla. Mul Chowk, Sundari Chowk, Mani Keshav Narayan Chowk, Bhimsen Mandir, Krishna Mandir, Taleju Mandir and Kumbheshwor, among others are the major attractions of the Durbar Square.
Earlier, the main tourist hub of Kathmandu, Thamel was declared vehicle-free zone on October 22, 2017. The campaign was launched at the initiation of Metropolitan Traffic Police Division, Kathmandu Metropolitan City and various entrepreneurs at Thamel.
Similarly, four-wheelers were also banned from plying in Ason from January 16. As many as 11 ward chairmen and local representatives coordinated with Kathmandu Traffic Police Division to implement the banning of vehicles in various places including Ason, Indrachowk, Makkhan, Thaiti, Bhedasingh, Naradevi and Kilagal from 7 am to 7 pm.