Nairobi proposes two car-free days to decongest city
Private motorists in Nairobi will soon be required to use other means into the central business district (CBD) as Nairobi County works on decongesting the city.
This follows a proposal by the Nairobi Regeneration Committee, appointed in March to solve the city’s major problems, that Wednesday and Saturday be car-free days in the CBD and Westlands, a suburb about 3km west of the city centre.
Transport Cabinet Secretary, James Macharia, who is a member of the committee, said the proposal is part of an ambitious initiative to tackle the problem of congestion in the Kenyan capital.
“We need to shift from the idea using our own vehicles coming to town every day, because you find more than three million cars coming into the CBD and each one of them is not carrying more than one passenger,” said Mr Mohammed Dagane, Nairobi County’s executive in charge of roads, transport and infrastructure.
According to a 2017 Traffic Index report by Serbia-based website numbeo.com, Nairobi residents spend an average of 62.44 minutes in traffic every day.
Plans to implement a Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) are also underway, with 39 buses that can ferry up to 120 people expected by the end of June.
Should the car-free days be implemented, Nairobi will join other world cities that have closed down streets to drivers including Kigali.
Rwanda introduced a monthly car-free day in 2016. Every first Sunday, Kigali residents leave their cars at home and walk, jog or ride bicycles to the city centre.
In Denmark, half of its capital Copenhagen’s population bikes to work every day. The city boasts of 200 miles (322km) of bicycle lanes and has the lowest percentage of car ownership in Europe.
Mexico City restricts about two million cars from driving into the city centre two days every work week and two Saturdays a month. It uses a rotating system based on license plate numbers to determine which vehicles are allowed to be on the city’s roads.
The Spanish capital Madrid is redesigning 24 of the city’s busiest streets for walking rather than driving as it moves towards banning cars from its CBD by 2020.