State of roads

Experts offer panacea to Nairobi’s frustrating traffic

A traffic police officer walking past a matatau at Khoja terminus in Nairobi County on November 5, 2018. PHOTO | SAMMY KIMATU
A traffic police officer walking past a matatau at Khoja terminus in Nairobi County on November 5, 2018. PHOTO | SAMMY KIMATU

Fewer parking spaces, higher parking fees and the improvement of pedestrian and cyclist pathways is the key to decongesting Nairobi, experts say.

Speaking to journalists on Tuesday, Institute of Transportation Development and Policy Africa programme director Christopher Kost said that increasing the number of people walking and cycling to work every day will help reduce the number of vehicles coming into the city, resulting in faster travel times.

While making a presentation on the implementation of the Bus Rapid Transport system that is meant to revolutionise travel into and out of the city centre, Mr Kost said that dealing with the parking situation in the city will be a lot faster and cheaper to implement than the expensive and expansive BRT.

‘FEWER PEOPLE DRIVING’

“If you keep adding more parking spaces in the city and make them easily affordable, then it attracts more cars into the city. The government has to raise parking fees, and fewer people will be driving into town in their personal cars, which will lead to less traffic on the roads,” Mr Kost said.

He pointed out that various cities in the world including Dar es Salaam, Paris, Copenhagen and San Fransisco have used various methods to reduce the number of vehicles being driven into the cities.

In neighbouring Dar, certain street parking has been converted to pedestrian walkways, thus increasing traffic on foot while reducing the number of vehicles on the streets.

HIGH FEES

In San Fransisco, the most attractive parking spots in certain neighbourhoods have very high fees, discouraging long-term parking.

Mr Kost remarked that former governor Kidero’s plan to have parking structures outside the CBD would only have attracted more cars and would have failed in its attempt to rid the city of excess vehicles.

“I wish our leaders could take a walk from their offices into the CBD and find out for themselves the challenges ordinary Kenyans go through every day. I’m sure they would be very quick to make the improvements that need to be made for walking to become much easier and safer,” said Njeri Mburu, the Transport Planning Manager for ITDP.



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