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Nairobi car-free days suspended for at least two weeks

The pilot will cover a slightly smaller area that is along Moi Avenue, Harambee Avenue, the road that separates Re-insurance plaza and Law Courts and then City Hall Way

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 30 – Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia has announced that the car-free days directive that was to start February 1 has been postponed for at least two weeks after consultation with stakeholders.

Macharia said that the postponement will allow vetting and registration of hawkers.

“In order to ensure that all hawkers and traders are for security reasons comprehensively vetted by BVR , and also to complete all consultations, the piloting for car-free days has been deferred for a minimum of two weeks,” Macharia told Capital FM.

Transport Principal Secretary Paul Maringa had on Monday said the car-free days will allow hawkers to sell their wares in the CBD.

Wednesdays and Saturdays had been designated as car-free days in Nairobi when vehicles will be barred from the Central Business District.

“We are trying to turn our urban environments into social spaces; we want ownership of urban environments by human beings and not vehicles. We also want to increase access to simple business people and that’s why we have come up with that concept of car free days where we are hoping to bring on board about 100,000 small scale traders,” said Maringa.

This, he said, will generate an estimated income of Sh3.8 billion annually.

“The pilot will cover a slightly smaller area that is along Moi Avenue, Harambee Avenue, the road that separates Re-insurance plaza and Law Courts and then City Hall Way. In that pilot area, we have designed and identified that it can accommodate about 5,000 traders,” he said.

The traders will be expected to trade in clean environments and the ministry has partnered with stakeholders which include insurance companies and bankers to provide easily assembled stores.

Maringa said so far they have partnered with 39 stakeholders and slightly over 5,000 stores are ready for the Friday’s piloting.

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“Traders will come in the morning to assemble their stores and in the evening they can be dismantled, stored somewhere and the city is kept clean,” he said.

Organized car free days are held in various cities across the world. It was introduced in mid-2016 in Kigali, Rwanda for instance, and takes place on the first Sunday of every month.

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