Road to nowhere

The double-lane road below Norzin Lam has recently attracted a lot of attention. Dorji Wangchuk, in his blog, complained that he was clueless about the purpose of the “middle road”. And Kuensel questioned government officials why the road was built in the first place.

The double-lane road was built to take away Norzin Lam’s vehicular traffic, so that it could be converted to a completely pedestrian path. That, according to the Thimphu Structural Plan developed by Professor Christopher Beninger, was the idea. But that is not happening.

Norzin Lam continues to be used by vehicles traveling towards Chubachu. Vehicles returning from Chubachu use the lower lane of the double-lane road, leaving the “middle road” empty.

Our officials claim that Norzin Lam cannot be converted to a pedestrian lane because they do not have “budget and resources”. That is nonsense. If Norzin Lam is closed to vehicular traffic, it will automatically become a completely pedestrian lane. And without investing much money, a lot of what was envisioned for a pedestrian Norzin Lam can be realized.

It’s not about budget and resources.

So what is it about? I see two possibilities. One, that the government does not have the political will to close Norzin Lam to vehicles. And two, that the whole idea of converting Norzin Lam to a pedestrian lane was wrong.