On July 19, 2016 at Nairobi Garage, the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) held a forum on how Kenya can solve the issue of traffic snarl ups by embracing the idea of cycling to work or home whilst observing environmental pollution. The theme of the talk was, ‘Walk-Stroll-Cycle-Ability: Designing a Street Network for All.’
The event sought to discuss how to create a sustainable transport system for a clean environment, what can be done to ensure mobility and accessibility for all and joint ventures that could be taken to enhance mobility. The idea of cycling has been take up by several countries like Chile, which recently won the International Sustainable Transport. Another is Netherlands where 31. 2 per cent of the population use bicycles as their mode of transport to do daily activities as opposed to use public transport or cars.
The forum was held at a critical time when Kenya is undergoing and still in need of eminent infrastructure development. Every day of the week, Nairobi struggles with traffic snarl ups in the wee hours of the morning and evening. This affects different parts of the city as people are either going to work or leaving work to their homes.
In June, Kenya Vision 2030 signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Play Guru to construct a bicycle assembly plant worth Kshs 343 million. Implementation of the project would see Nairobi adopting a non-motorized transport system to be unveiled by end of year. The 10,000-unit a month assembly line will set Nairobi for a major infrastructure transformation, which will include cycling lanes and pedestrian sidewalks.
Solving traffic has not gone well with the county or national government. First in 2015, there was a lot of buzz on the construction of the Nairobi Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS). The 167km project will see the building of new roads and railway lines linking the city to several satellite towns. The MRTS project is part of the Nairobi master plan that includes the construction of a commuter railway line along Outer Ring, Jogoo, Mombasa, Limuru, Lang’ata, Ngong roads and Waiyaki Way corridors.
In 2014, the Nairobi county government launched the master plan which integrates all existing master plans to harmonize urban transport, railway, and solid waste management.
The construction of the Standard Gauge Railway line is a major transformation in Kenya that the government has invested heavily on. The 327bn rail project set for completion in 2017, will see Kenya’s economy going up as goods will be transported faster especially from the port of Mombasa, create employment, reduce cost of transportation in the region making it an attractive investment destination and the train will protect the environment through reduced carbon emission.
ITDP is a leading organization that designs and implements high quality transport systems and policy solutions that make cities more livable, equitable and sustainable. Its headquarters are in New York City with offices in Kenya, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico and the United States. ITDP’s work in Africa spans cities such as Yaoundé, Abidjan, Dakar, Kampala, Nairobi, and Kisumu amongst others. It has played a major implementation of Rea Vaya BRT in Johannesburg, MyCiTi BRT in Cape Town and DART BRT in Dar es Salaam.
The event was attended by Vision 2030 secretariat, Kenya Alliance of Resident Association, University of Nairobi, UN Habitat and Handicap International.