The Nairobi government plans to remove taxis from several streets to decongest the city centre.
In a confidential report prepared by the transport department, City Hall wants to install more traffic lights, hire 300 traffic marshals and expand key roads. The highlights of the report reveal that illegal and double parking, weak enforcement and lack of clear traffic signals in some pathways have caused the snarl-ups.
Transport executive Mohamed Dagane revealed the contents of the report to the Star yesterday. He said taxi drivers illegally park on Muindi Mbingu, Kimathi, Moi Avenue and other key roads.
“On Muindi Mbingu, taxis are either illegally parked or double parked. The clear case is opposite City Market where taxis are parked with impunity. We want to clear all these,” Dagane said.
On Kimathi street, the report says, taxis have caused congestion on the stretch between Kenyatta Avenue and Mama Ngina Street. It recommends the streets be expanded to a dual carriageway to accommodate the high number of vehicles.
There is also illegal and double parking in front of Jamia Mosque. The congestion affects traffic movement on Kenyatta Avenue, Kimathi and Muindi Mbingu.
On Ronald Ngala, the recommendations call for intensive operations to clear matatus that pick and drop passengers in the middle of the road.
“Matatus have turned a full lane into a stage, disrupting movement.”
Matatus plying the Githurai and Eastlands routes drop and pick up passengers on the road. Some have also turned pavements into stages, hooting and interfering with businesses.
The county plans to do away with illegal stages on Latema, Accra and Mfanagano streets. It will install traffic lights and enhance enforcement at Globe Cinema Roundabout. Decongesting the CBD has been elusive to the county government, with several previous efforts and polices failing.
Last week, the country announced that only two matatus per sacco would be allowed in the city centre at any one time. The operators were to identify holding grounds for their vehicles outside the CBD, a directive which was ignored.
But Dagane said the order is still in force and linked the shortage of enforcement officers to the slow implementation. “Traffic marshals are very few, but even yesterday [Thursday] we told them [matatu operators] the directive stands,” he said.