Building more roads will not decongest Nairobi

Nairobi's Kikuyu Road to be closed for two months

Building and expansion of roads within Nairobi will not end traffic jams. This is according to Town and County Planners Associations.

The state announced plans to introduce Mass Rapid Transit as one way to end traffic gridlocks. A Chinese firm known as Stecol Corporation secured the Sh 5.6billion contract to construct special lanes for high-capacity buses in July.

The government has also identified five corridors in its bid to decongest Nairobi roads. Line 1 is to run from the James Gichuru Road and Waiyaki Way junction to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, a distance of 20km. The 31km. Line 2 will run from Lang’ata Road to Ngong Road, Juja Road, Komarock Road to Ruiru with major stops at Dandora, Kariobangi and the Gikomba market. Line 3 will run from Githurai through Thika Road to Moi Avenue in the CBD, terminating at Kenyatta National Hospital.

The state has also been rehabilitating the meter gauge railway within the city. Kenya Railways targets to serve up to 230,000 passengers daily. A fleet of the new commuter rail buses has also been introduced to connect passengers to various destinations.

Comprehensive approach to decongestion

In addition, the Kenya Railways recently imported second-hand Diesel Multiple Units with a life span of 25 years to move Nairobi railway passengers from about 300,000 a month to three million. The train units (10 double and one triple) were sold to KRC for about Sh1.17 billion. However, according to the Association’s Chairman Mairura Omwenga, the city need a comprehensive approach to decongest it.

“If you just expand motorways, more people will buy cars. The rate at which people are buying cars surpasses the rate of expansion. Nairobi has a population of about four million people, 70% of whom are dependent on public transport.

Kenya, according to the Institute of Economic Affairs loses, over Sh 50million daily in traffic jams. Lack of a functioning and efficient public transport system has made matters worse. More people are opting to acquire personal cars as a result

Kenya’s public transport system has collapsed. The way matatu sector is being run is inefficient. The state need to be involved in regulation and provision of a conducive environment. Passengers should be assured that the bus or train will come at a given time and leave at a given time whether there are passengers or not. Our matatus will wait until they are full.”

Omwenga also noted on the need of properly integrated town planning. He said town proper town planning had not been done from 1973 up to 2015. He said the number of people coming to the CBD can be reduced by having commercial centres near residential areas. He said there should be effective development control.



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