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Matatus convert Moi avenue into terminus

Driving along Nairobi’s Moi Avenue is becoming a nightmare for motorists after matatu crews converted the entire street into a terminus, where they pick up and drop off passengers.

This has also messed up traffic flow on to Mondlane Street, which they constantly block. This results in a snarl-up at the junction of Moi and Kenyatta avenues.

The street connects Moi Avenue and Kenyatta Avenue to Tom Mboya Street.

UNENDING TRAFFIC

In the evenings, motorists spend hours on Moi Avenue, one of the main access routes for matatus coming from Westlands and Kangemi, mainly due to unending traffic congestion on Mondlane Street.

Matatus from the Thika Superhighway complicate matters as they pick up and drop off passengers along Moi Lane.

Since they use Mondlane Street from Odeon to gain entry into the lane, traffic flow along Moi Avenue is chock-a-block.

Nairobi County transport executive Mohammed Abdullahi on Thursday said traffic congestion in the city had become a crisis.

“No single person or organisation should be blamed for this problem. People need to come up with ways of addressing it,” said Mr Abdullahi, who is also the chairman of the executive task force on decongesting Nairobi.

He spoke during a press conference at the Sarova Stanley.

In an interview, matatu owners said City Hall is partly to blame for the crisis.

“Although most of the places where we pick up passengers were allocated by the City Council, the County Government has not made any improvements,” said matatu owner David Maina.

According to Mr Abdullahi, it is wrong to blame City Hall alone for the problem.

“Matatu saccos used to apply for licences through the National Transport and Safety Authority and City Hall was not consulted. We could not keep them out of the zones where they could pick up passengers,” said the county official.

DEMOLISH ROUNDABOUTS

On Thursday, Mr Abdullahi announced temporary measures the county had come up with to address the congestion.

Mr Abdullahi said the county had written to Nairobi Water and Sewerage Company, Kenya Power and telecommunications firms to start shifting their pipes and cables along Mombasa Road and Waiyaki Way, where they intend to demolish all roundabouts as a short-term measure to decongest the city.

“The roundabouts are to be replaced with intersections.

“We have given these companies up to April 15. We are likely to start demolishing the roundabouts by the end of this month,” said Mr Abdullahi, who chairs the task force.

Members of the task force on decongestion, which was constituted early this month, are officials from the Transport ministry, the National Transport and Safety Authority, Traffic Police, Kenya Roads Authority and the Kenya National Highways Authority.

The team also has representatives from consultancy firms that include Mott MacDonald, Gauff Consultants and Wanjohi Consulting Engineers.