Despite causing a major political spat between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho during its launch, the Buxton state-of-the-art footbridge appears to have been shunned by pedestrians.
Most pedestrians still cross the busy road directly despite the danger of being knocked down by speeding vehicles and slowing down the traffic.
The Buxton footbridge was part of the National government’s non-motorised transport projects in Mombasa aimed at ensuring safety of the pedestrians. Immediately the bridge was commissioned, there was excitement amongst pedestrians. Residents could be seen climbing up and down the magnificent structure perhaps to get the experience of the first ever footbridge in Mombasa.
However, six months down the line, it appears the residents no longer want to use it with majority claiming it is extremely tedious, one takes longer time to get to the other end. Most pedestrians admit they prefer crossing the busy section of the road at Buxton directly.
“The bridge is just too long and with many corners such that by the time you get to the other side of the road, you would have wasted a lot of time and we have no time to waste…so if there is an easy way to cross, I just look right and left if the road is clear I cross,” said Kassim Masoud, a resident of Tononoka.
County askaris who have been deployed to ensure pedestrians use the footbridge also appear to have given up. But County Transport Executive Towfiq Balala said it is difficult to control pedestrians against crossing the road at the moment because there are no guardrails to bar pedestrians to use the facility.