DECONGESTING NAIROBI CITY
Congestion in Nairobi and other major cities remain a thorn in the flesh and an impediment to growth, efficiency and effective functioning of the city. It’s said time is money whereas the majority of Nairobians are left draped and grounded on the city roads for many hours caused the major traffic jams, a nightmare to the Nairobians.
Population in Nairobi city is continually increasing daily as many people struggle for the scarce resources within the city including road transport to and from work.
City planners had the best plans at heart in decongesting the CBD by creating terminuses outside the main CBD but very adjacent to the CBD.PSVs plying Thika road had the Ngara terminus as their last pick up and drop off point of passengers.Jogoo road users were to use the Muthurwa market terminus while those plying Mombasa road and Langata roads were to drop off and pick up passengers from the Railways terminus.
From all those drop points, the passengers were to then walk either to town on foot or to other terminus if they were to connect to other sides of town. Indeed, this could have been a very effective way of not allowing all the matatus to the Nairobi CBD.
Advantages of matatus using their designated terminus outside the CBD definitely outweigh the disadvantages of it.For example, people will use the shortest time on the roads. The entry of buses into the CBD causes both air and noise pollution which are both hazardous to people’s wellbeing. Matatus within town are sometimes driven at terrific speeds which pose a major threat to road users as many focus on making money.
The noise and the rowdy crowds operating the PSVs create disturbance hence distracting the smooth running of business. The congestion has also led to the issue of hawkers finding their way into the CBD which demeans the city the status it deserves. Street gangs and cartels tend to attach themselves to the PSVs and gain their way into the city and by this poses a major security threat which is attributed to the high cases of armed and violent crimes prevailing within the CBD.
The entry of the PSVs into the CBD also makes it hard for those who need to access different places within the CBD a challenge because a distance that can take a minute or two will be covered in couples of minutes.
The challenges that are likely to be faced by those PSV users is the vast distances from terminus to another a case which can have detrimental effects on individuals moreso the elderly, the children and the sick as they will have the burden of long treks.
The sudden inception of the ban was to pose a major security threat to the road users as most of the bus terminus were witnessed to be dilapidated and in poor conditions. Most of the terminus are not big to host large numbers of passengers and matatus plying all the routes because they lack the basic facilities like sanitation and resting places.
Poor lighting at the would be terminus presented an opportunity to opportunistic criminals to waylay and attack victims using the cover of darkness. The ban itself made the majority of private car owners to place their vehicles on the roads and pavements that now caused the biggest traffic snarl up ever witnessed along Nairobi roads.
Bridges and overpasses e.g. the one at the Kenya Railway was packed far beyond its normal capacity putting the lives of the bridge users at risk in case it collapsed.
Before the ban was to be put into the effect, the government ought to have put several mechanisms into place. They had to think of a problem and come up with solutions, present the solutions first and enforce them before lastly presenting the problem to the people.
The Government was to reinvent and renovate the respective bus terminus ensuring they will accommodate the buses without causing another major hiccup. Lighting of the streets and the lanes from the terminus to the CBD should be considered. Proper sanitation and hygiene around the terminus should be ensured.
Alternative means of transport to be put in place to ensure there is service access from terminus to terminus or from terminus to CBD where the long shuttle buses to be used alternatively as they carry a greater capacity and will reduce congestion.
The County also overlooked the street families menace. There are chances that they will regroup to the newly designated terminuses which will turn into breeding groundsfor crimes. The globe round about is a poorly lit area and has always been dangerous for people walking after sunset. It is expected to be used to access fig tree, Ngara for the Thika super highway PSVs.
The move to decongest the city comes as a means to bring sanity to our city because rapid urbanization and increasing demand for transport is likely to continue burdening the urban road infrastructure which lower the economic development as congestion will be determined by the interplay in the number of vehicles and available road capacity.
Nairobi needs to cultivate technological innovation like this which will allow citizens efficiently access goods and opportunities with much ease which proves difficult under rapid urbanization.