CRACKDOWN

Roads authority goes after unruly pedestrians

Offending pedestrians were taken to a city court and fined between Sh500 and Sh3,000.

In Summary

• The dualling of Outering Road cost Sh8.5 billion and was opened in January 2015.

• It was funded by the government and the African Development Bank.

Pedestrians crossing Outering Road at Fedha area on June 28, 2018.
DANGER: Pedestrians crossing Outering Road at Fedha area on June 28, 2018.
Image: EZEKIEL AMING'A

The days of pedestrians fond of crossing at undesignated points along major Nairobi roads are numbered as a multi-agency team is out to tame them.

At least 300 people were arrested last Thursday and Friday in the multi-operation by the Kenya Urban Roads Authority and the police.

On Friday, four people were arraigned in court after being arrested for crossing at undesignated points along Mbagathi Way; the larger number were arrested along Outering Road.

They were taken to a city court and fined between Sh500 and Sh3,000 with those who could not raise the amount spending the weekend in jail.

 Some pedestrians argued that the footbridges had not been officially commissioned, and they did not know whether they were allowed to use them.

During a similar operation last year in February, at least 320 traders were arrested as police intensified operations to decongest footbridges in Nairobi. 

Kura’s assistant director of corporate communication, John Cheboi, told the Star there is need to sensitize pedestrians on the importance of using footbridges.

“As Kura, we have set up footbridges in the major busy roads for a purpose but some pedestrians still choose to use shortcuts at the expense of their lives,” he said.

Outering Road, the 13km stretch between Taj Mall and Allsops is the site of many accidents and there has been an uproar over pedestrian fatalities and injuries.

It has been making headlines in the past two years, leading in the number of accidents from 2018 to 2019. 

In June 2018, NTSA ranked Outering Road the city's most dangerous highway.

In August 2019, Outering Road was ranked the second deadliest after Mombasa Road.

The dualling of Outering Road cost Sh8.5 billion and was opened in January 2015.

It was funded by the government and the African Development Bank.

Pedestrians avoid the 11 footbridges set up by Kura along the stretch and cross the busy highway directly for convenience.

Between the two sides of the dual carriage is a ditch intended to discourage crossing. It hasn't worked.

People still risk crossing the busy road, some on foot, some carrying children and some on motorbikes

In August, the national government was urged to erect barriers on Outering Road to prevent pedestrians from crossing and being hit by vehicles.

Embakasi West MP George Theuri said accidents and deaths happen almost daily between Taj Mall and Allsops and they are increasing.

Some residents argue that traders, street families, boda bodas, beggars and muggers have taken over the footbridges and footpaths leaving them no choice but to cross the busy roads and some meet death unexpectedly.

The residents argued that footbridges and the walkways are no longer safe. 

They said using them is more dangerous than crossing roads and what was to be a solution is instead making their lives difficult.

However, the authority led by Eng Silas Kinoti said they have cleared out the footbridges with those in deplorable conditions restored to safety for use.

To encourage pedestrians to use the footbridges , Kura in the next coming months will ensure that they are well lit to enable them be useable at night.

Pedestrians crossing Outering Road at Fedha area on June 28, 2018.
DANGER: Pedestrians crossing Outering Road at Fedha area on June 28, 2018.
Image: EZEKIEL AMING'A