By: Amita Thapa Magar
Clean Energy Nepal
In coordination with Clean Air Network Nepal and Clean Energy Nepal,LI BIRD organized a Walkability Dissemination program in Pokhara. The main objective of the program was to share the results of the Walkability survey which was conducted in September 2011.
The program was organized in LI BIRD Office where 17 participants marked their presence. Two presentations: (i) Walkability Results Dissemination and (ii) Sustainable Urban Transport were presented in the program.
Ms. Reshna Udas, Project Officer LI BIRD welcomed all the participants and briefed about the objective of the program. This was followed by the presentations from Ms. Amita Thapa Magar and Mr. Prashanta Khanal.
Ms. Magar shared the results of the walkability survey in her presentation. The walkability index for Pokhara is 197 compared to Kathmandu (559) and Bhaktapur (309). A lower ranking index suggests that a city is more walkable. She also discussed about the top priorities voiced by the pedestrians’ in terms of pedestrian facilities. Top three priorities came out as: 1) Wide, leveled and clean footpaths, 2) Reduced and slow traffic on roads and 3) Removal of obstructions/ parking from footpaths.
Lack of public awareness on the importance of pedestrians’ safety, inadequate polices and pedestrian friendly guidelines and infrastructures, lack of coordination among the authorities, insufficient budget, poor urbanization plan and weak agency implementation were identified as barriers in improving the pedestrians’ facilities in the city by different stakeholders.
Recommendations were also presented including specific ones. A strong suggestion on efforts to promote, develop and brand Pokhara as a Walkable City was perceived and a need of massive mass awareness programs with active participation of the community was advised.
Meanwhile, Mr. Khanal presented about elements of sustainable urban transportation. In his presentation, Mr. Khanal discussed about the best practices from around the world and how they are taking step towards sustainable mobility. He pointed how Pokhara, as a sizeable city, could lead in promoting Non Motor Transport system and brand for tourism.
Er. Indra Prasad Poudel, Road Department, Western Road Division Office showed his commitment to push for including the pedestrians’ concerns and budget for side walk in the upcoming fiscal year plan.
After the program, a short meeting was held with Environment Officer from Pokhara Sub Metropolitan City, Mr. Khem Bhandari. The results of Walkability Survey were briefed to him and also discussions were made on how Municipality could work in improving pedestrians’ infrastructures and facilities in Pokhara.
To know more, visit Clean Energy Nepal site.