That Nairobi as a city has a traffic congestion problem at almost any time of day and sometimes even at night on some roads is not in doubt. That the clever people, and I use clever loosely, trying to solve it are not very clever is also not in doubt.
A while back, these clever people decided they would magically solve the problem by raising parking fees while not providing alternatives to these people who drive. Raising parking fees would work where other alternatives are reliable and efficient, something Nairobi doesn’t have.
Further evidence that the city fathers are clever, they announced an imposition of two car free days that was to begin last Friday. Well, it didn’t start as I knew it wouldn’t. This is why this pilot was bound to fail from the word go.
Afterwards, private motorists starting February 1, will be required to keep their private vehicles at bay on Wednesday and Saturdays and instead use public service vehicles in a historic piloting phase that is geared at de-congesting the CBD but one that has been met by opposition and equal measure of support.
and here is where the problem starts. Do they keep them at bay at home or can drive them and just don’t get into the CBD. Instead of reducing traffic as these clever people anticipate, there will be chaos. To solve traffic congestion requires several measures among them includes terminal buildings where people can park their cars. Much of the traffic in the CBD is as a result of people trying to find parking bays.
As it is, using public transport (which are actually private taxis) is inefficient and expensive. Any journey through Nairobi requires at least the use of two matatus as non loop around the city. There are areas that are not served at all by public transport forcing residents to walk long distances just to catch a bus, that one never knows what time they will come, how much fare you will pay and whether they nyongoa before they get to the terminal.
In the article I have linked to, the clever city fathers say only cyclists, police vehicles and other emergency vehicles will be allowed on specific roads. Now my friends, this is really stupid. There are no cycling lanes. The roads will not be car free, just the CBD. So does one carry their bikes and only cycle in those specific streets or how did they see this happening?
Anyway, these clever people were elected by Nairobians and as such, kila mtu apambane na hali yake.