Walkable Kathmandu

The face of Kathmandu Valley has changed with the expansion of inner roads and ring roads. The road expansion program has eased traffic congestion, but the footpaths have narrowed more, creating problems for pedestrians. So our ideas is to make city walkable, that is Walkable Kathmandu

Saurav Dhakal, Kathmandu, Nepal

Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal is experiencing continuous urban sprawl and development. Since years, the city has grown in terms of human settlements and commerce. Being the Capital, it receives privilege from National Government. In addition to being the Nation’s Capital Commerce Centre, the city also experiences high footfall from International Visitors as it is well served with all modes of transport. Yet, there are challenges and issues observed. Day by day, city is witnessing pressing need in supply of urban infrastructure and proper management. City streets are found clogged with vehicular traffic. Air quality has been found degrading. It is required that concrete steps be taken towards controlling urban sprawl and inducing proper management measures to mitigate urban issues. Urban Development and Transportation go hand in hand and contribute largely towards economy and well-being of any Nation. While Urban Development nurtures, Urban Transport serves as the backbone of the economy. Transportation not only includes ‘People’s Movement’ but also ‘Freight & Logistics’. And therefore it becomes very necessary to address the critical movement of people and freight in urban areas.
2. Present Scenario
The face of Kathmandu Valley has changed with the expansion of inner roads and ring roads. The road expansion program has eased traffic congestion, but the footpaths have narrowed more creating problems for pedestrians. Talking about Kathmandu inner roads, the roads were expanded by a few meters more from its original size to ease traffic congestion. During the expansion, many residential buildings were demolished since they were built encroaching the road. Some building owners in some places demolished the ground floor while the upper floors were not destroyed leaving the demolished areas as footpaths under buildings. In thamel area stakeholders such as businessmen and local residents were positive about making the area pedestrian-friendly. Around 78 per cent of the total respondents had reported that they wanted to see a pedestrian-friendly Thamel while 11 per cent were not sure whether to make Thamel more pedestrian-friendly. The strongest voice had come from the business community followed closely by tourists and then lastly, local residents.
The increasing traffic and number of people in city area is increasing day by day and the issues related to pedestrians and the vehicular movement are increasing exponentially. For the betterment of the city people should feel safe whilst walking around the city and using the public transport. Without proper management and implementation of pedestrian related issues and their rights no city can become managed and walkable. Although city is transforming with increase in size and length of roads pedestrians still lack proper walkable areas. Although there are footpaths in many areas People are always in fear that something might go wrong and they might get hurt. In mass of people there are some who feel like they can do anything and they are always breaking the rules and people are in need of different road safety awareness programs. Parents do not feel safe when their children leave house for their schools and other activities. Nowadays young people are prone to road accidents so parents feel that their children should get the road safety education and practices in their young age.
2.1 Key Issues
This city (Kathmandu) is growing day by day with higher expectations from people and nowadays people are feeling that the government bodies are not serious towards their (pedestrians) safety. With the reference from past experiences and different media following are the major issues and problems faced by pedestrians in Kathmandu City;
- Footpath are not available everywhere
- Foot Paths are blocked with construction materials
- Footpaths are filled with drains and muddy water
- There are small shops on the footpaths
- Vehicles do not give priority to walkers
- Improper crossing areas without

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