Steve Umidha @steveumidha
Chaotic scenes witnessed yesterday in Nairobi severely exposed its pitiable planning, bringing into sharp focus the Sh400 billion transport master plan meant to decongest the city.
While minimal progress has been made since the plan to connect Nairobi with satellite towns using a state-of-the-art mass transport system was formally launched in 2011, it is high time residents of the city sought answers on its implementation – and rightly so since the task is being undertaken using taxpayers money.
A traffic management master plan study funded by the World Bank had proposed, key among others, techniques of easing congestion in the city, much of that study is yet to be executed.
The metropolitan master plan – being executed under the Vision 2030 development blueprint, involves erecting a 167-kilometre public road and rail transport linking the Kenyan capital with satellite towns like Thika, Machakos, Kajiado, Ruiru, Athi River, Kikuyu and Kitengela.
Major objective was to disperse the city’s 3.2 million population to the outlying towns to cut pollution as well as reduce the cost of living.
Nairobi Integrated Urban Development Master Plan was thought to be a major milestone for not only Nairobi County but also the country’s urban problems such as chronic traffic congestion.
It was also meant to help poor housing characterised by expanding slum areas, environmental degradation, insecurity, unemployment and deterioration of the city’s infrastructure – both physical and social – which have continued to pose great challenges to the city’s management and delayed its transition to a modern and globally competitive metropolis.
The plan further proposes to develop nine key railway transport corridors connecting Nairobi Railway Station-Ruiru-Thika, with another line linking Juja Road –Kangundo, and another railway line linking Jomo Kenyatta International Airport through to Athi River and another linking Langata Road to Karen as well as Upper Hill to Ngong town.