NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 15 – Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero has announced plans to convert key streets in the city into one-way routes as part of measures to end traffic jams.
They include Moi Avenue, Koinange Street, Kimathi Street, Tom Mboya and Kirinyaga Road which will become one-way streets within three months.
Kidero says they are convinced that traffic flow will change for the better in Nairobi once the new changes are made to be able to save motorists the agony of spending hours in traffic.
“We just don’t want to limit it to removal of roundabouts. We want to include the conversion of streets to one-way system where Moi Avenue will be one-way, Koinange Street will be one-way, Kenyatta Avenue obviously will be divided, Kimathi Street will be one-way, Tom Mboya Street will be one-way, River Road will be one way and Kirinyaga Road.”
In March, the Nairobi County Government and the National Government entered into a Sh400 million partnership aimed at smoothening the flow of traffic.
The plan includes the elimination of notorious roundabouts and their replacement with signalised junctions.
At the signing of the agreement, County Transport Executive Mohamed Abdullahi said plans were underway to remove six roundabouts from Kangemi all the way to Mombasa Road.
Plans to eliminate the roundabouts commenced in April leading to traffic snarl ups that led to the temporary reopening of some roundabouts on the affected route.
Kidero however defended the move when announcing that some city streets would be converted to one-way systems.
“Preliminary studies have shown that removal of roundabouts increased the traffic flow by 30 percent and you’ve seen where we’ve closed roundabouts, traffic flow is much better for example in Westlands and Tom Mboya, Nation House roundabout.”
Other measures the county and national governments outlined in March include a ban on the licensing of any new Public Service Vehicles, the banning of handcarts and trolleys from city roads and allowing PSVs only five minutes at bus stops and 40 minutes at termini to drop and pick passengers.
It is estimated that there are now about 800,000 cars in Nairobi, a figure which has more than doubled from 330,000 counted in 2013.
The cost of traffic congestion in Nairobi to the national economy is has been pegged at about 1.5pc of the national GDP.
“Recent statistics show me that even marriages are in trouble because when people have been in traffic for a very long time, when they get back home, they are in such a foul mood that marriages certain times have tended to suffer,” Kidero said when announcing the measures.