Digo Bikas Institute in collaboration with Ward number 18 of Kathmandu Metropolitan City and members of Consortium for Sustainable Mobility on the occasion of World Carfree Day(21st September, 2019), had a community discussion / consultation meeting, held in Kesh Chandra Bihar, Itumbahal. The discussion was focused on addressing the present context, challenges and strategy to rebuild vehicle regulation movement routed to the community of the area.
The meeting was called by Digo Bikas Institute, in collaboration with Ward 18. Office-Kathmandu Metropolitan City, Itumbahal Improvement Committee, Kilaga Tole Improvement Committee, Kilaga Women’s Group, and Kesh Chandra Bihar.
The other organizational participants where invited from Ward 24 Office- Kathmandu Metropolitan City, Star Club, Kesh Chandra Traditional Music Group, Swet Kali Musical Group, Kilagal Twa Khala Group, Indra Chowk Group, Tahanani youth Group, Kilagal cultural Group, Tahanani Women’s Group, City Planning commission -Kathmandu Metropolitan City, Makhan Active Group, Society of Environmental Engineers Nepal.
The discussion was initiated by Shail shrestha from Digo Bikas Institute, setting up the global context of urban development, Vehicle regulation efforts, its socio-economic, and environmental politics. A paper-slide presentation was done with past experiences of Vehicle Regulation events, in Kilagal, Ason, and Thamel. The context of European Mobility Week, New Urbanism movements, World Carfree Day history, was also set with examples of Carfree day events and permanent Vehicle Regulation destinations from around the world, including in other cities of Asia. Scope from Permanent Vehicle regulation and its benefits to the community, history of efforts by governments to regulate vehicles in historic core area. The presentation concluded with scope of building a locally based inter-institutional team to plan and execute regular vehicle free events and building the area as an permanent vehicle regulated zone, while also build up a intersectionality approach to prepare best for needed transformation of the area.
Samip Sigdel and Nivesh dugar from Society of Environmental Engineer’s Nepal, presented the about the status of the street health in terms of CO2 equivalent, PM 2.5 and noise and the Smart Citizen Kit. The report of the data taken of last 48 hours was also shared in the meeting. The report showed that the now pollution average level was 62.1dBA, with peak of 92 dBA, while WHO standard for safe noise limit is 45dBA, and Nepal Standard is 55 dBA. The air pollution based on PM 2.5 particles was found to be 112 ug/m3 while WHO standard is 25ug/m3.
On discussion, the representatives from two wards discussed about the present facing challenges that needs to be addressed parallel, to get ahead with the program. The issues identified through the discussion where about management of parking, and Traffic flow in the core area. The impact of recent KMC’s smart parking program in New Road area near the Target zone was also raised. The need to address the inflow of parking in the inner courtyards of the historic area, due to raise in parking fees in the market section was raised.
Ward 24 representative, stated the urgent need to address waste management and community consultation on waste segregation to make the space viable for further improvement. The ward chair of ward no.18, who chaired the meeting, stated the need to form an inter institutional planning committee between the local organizations, prior to approaching other organizations.
Ward 24 representative, shared that long term target to make permanent vehicle free zone required coordination with traffic department through the mayor of KMC. A requirement to conduct survey of house and business that could be effected by the regulation was also purposed in the meeting. Ward 18, chair purposed to start the event with voluntary initiative, as support can be likely achieved once the event gets promoted. The discussed agreed to lunch the program in a locally relevant event, where a broader festival was highlighted while the message of vehicle regulation is also purposed. A gradual approach to vehicle regulation could be a more acceptable approach to bring the majority onboard the plan, stated the ward chair. The community also proposed to build a series of vehicle regulated street festival, targeting Visit Nepal Year 2020.
A street festival was purposed to be organized post festival season in a follow up meeting called by the Ward Chair of Ward 18, of KMC.