Narrow Roads: Charm or Curse of the City?

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Roads are so narrow in Kathmandu. Even with the expansion of roads going on in the capital, it still is narrow. It can be both blessing and a curse depending on how you look at it and deal with it. However, for me, it adds a certain charm to the city along with its tiring traffic.

As I was growing up, narrow roads never bothered me. I thought they were cozy for some unknown reason. People around me always said that the roads were too narrow and the government needs to widen them to ease the increasing traffic.

Yet, I still didn’t see the roads here as being too narrow or too small for that matter. I just couldn’t see it literally! The roads always seemed big to me. How same road can be seen as big and small at the same time?! I wondered if we were looking and talking about the same road. Of course that would be the case from a child’s perspective.

road expansion

Never mind that, the government finally heard people’s plea about roads being too narrow and after so many years of struggle with growing traffic, road expansion was started, going as far as to completely demolish houses which were encroaching the road illegally amidst some protests from the owners of the said houses.

All that and what was the result, people still see roads as being narrow as always. I find Kathmandu valley to be a small city to begin with. So naturally, everything that was ever built here or will be built in the future will be in smaller scale as compared other cities in the world. Don’t people realize that and think about how to build a sustainable and environment friendly city which also protects its cultural heritage.


But if you happen to get stuck on one of those famous traffic blockages in a narrow road in the city, please don’t go on honking those awful horns, just because you have one, that’s going to create even more literal headaches for others.

So, have patience, listen to music or chat with the person accompanying you (if you have one) and be on your way. People are a bit forgiving when it comes to traffic jams as we all have suffered from this issue unwillingly and unfortunately many times.

By the way, there is ALWAYS a traffic jam except on public holidays: No lines of big school buses or office workers rushing towards their work!

The ever growing traffic blockages and even greatly increasing number of private vehicles don’t seem to help the expanded roads. Sure it is a pain for those who are trying to be punctual wherever they are heading to.

But it also has its own perks, when you get to whine to your friends that you were late because “There was a traffic jam!” can do nothing about that. Or you can (only if you can that is): Bulldoze your way through the traffic like Godzilla! 

Narrow Roads: Charm or Curse of the City?
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