Roundabouts to go as Kidero tackles congestion
Nairobi County has stopped the licensing of new matatus, pending a demand assessment report.
This is among many resolutions passed on Monday in a meeting attended by Transport Cabinet Secretary Michael Kamau and Governor Evans Kidero meant to address congestion.
The meeting was held at Charter Hall.
“It does not make sense for one to take 45 minutes to fly from Entebbe to Nairobi then spend two hours from the airport to the city centre. This is killing business,” Mr Kamau said.
Dr Kidero announced the suspension of licensing for new Public Service Vehicles, saying some routes had more than the required number.
“Nairob has 500,000 vehicles, up from 20,000 just 20 years ago. We register 90,000 new vehicles in Nairobi every year. Clearly, something needs to be done to contain the traffic situation,” Dr Kidero said.
He also announced a plan to do away with five roundabouts in the next one month in a bid to ease traffic flow.
“The roundabouts will be substituted by signalised intersections to improve flow by about 30 to 40 per cent. The roundabouts are University Way-Uhuru Highway, Kenyatta Avenue-Uhuru Highway, Haile Sellassie Avenue-Uhuru Highway, Bunyala and Lusaka roundabouts,” he said.
He added that the roundabout on Waiyaki Way at Westlands would be configured to avoid right turning. Traffic would be redirected accordingly.
Also suggested was a plan to institute roadside courts.
Matatu Owners Association Chairman Simon Kimutai and members vehemently opposed that, saying it would open an avenue of extortion for police and National Transport Safety Authority officers.
“It would be better for police officers to take down details of the offending vehicle and the sacco so that prosecution can follow the usual channels,” Mr Kimutai said.
Other short term solutions include reviewing all PSV termini and bus stops and redesigning routes in order to avoid the more radical proposal of banning matatus from the city centre.
BAN HAND CARTS
Also in the pipeline within the next 12 weeks is enforcement of the county by-law that allows PSVs to wait for passengers at a terminus for not more than 40 minutes and five minutes at bus stops.
The new regulations also ban hand carts in the town centre.
Twenty one junctions would be improved by building side lanes to divert traffic from roundabouts.
The Cabinet Secretary also announced the expansion of selected roads in the next six months.
Work is ongoing on Outering Road, Mombasa Road, Waiyaki Way, Ngong Road, Lang’ata Road, Thika Road, Jogoo Road and Mbagathi Road.