It is refreshing to see that Nairobi is taking baby-steps in realising Non-Motorized Transport(NMT). In the CBD, the Nairobi Metropolitan Services is implementing pedestrian walkways and cycling lanes by replacing and relocating some parking spots
We have timelines for the first 100 days to complete renovations along Moi Avenue, Muindi Mbingu Street, City Hall Way and the University Way. The project will later connect the City with Jogoo Road, Kibra, Westlands and Industrial Area.However, much more needs to be done and it can be done. I hope NMS is thinking wider than the current scope.
- Cycling lanes are much cheaper. They do not require major civil works like excavation. For the large part, clearing the way, levelling and laying paving and implementing basic drainage is all that is needed. The maintenance costs are similarly lower.
- From several sides of the city, the old railway line that goes almost into the CBD has lots of land on either side. Residents only need feeding cycle lanes to connect to the railway. Cycling/walking lanes can be built along the railway.
- A roadmap is needed such that in x years, from any point in the greater metropolitan area, a resident has a safe cycling lane to connect to the main lane that will take them to the city (and even cross it to any of the other sides). No road should be built without cycling lanes. That is just retrogressive.
- For security, solar powered lights can be installed along the lanes. The city management can hire security guards, equipped with bikes to patrol the cycling lanes. Fencing off the lanes will also ensure security.
- The railway station has enough space to be converted into secure bike parking facilities and users can be issued with smart cards for entry and exit. A nominal fee can be levied and this will be used for paying security marshals, cleaning and maintaining the washrooms.
- As the lanes are being built, it is important to ensure that all premises have secure bike-parking facilities. This is not too difficult. One car park can accommodate as many as 10 bikes. Theft of bikes is a serious issue so security will be needed. As more people give up driving, the parking attendants who were attending to motorists can be deployed to the bike parks. The idea is to ensure that a few metres from each building, you can leave your bike secured and sheltered and will be assured to find it when you come back.
- Convenience facilities such as lockers, shower-stands for freshening up can be installed at the Old Railway station. A person riding from any of the city environs further out should be able to get to the old railway station and make himself presentable for office. As a nominally chargeable service, this will further create income for NMS. It however requires that the main roads feeding into the city be equipped with cycling lanes.
- Providing this expanded infrastructure will also spur the growth of entrepreneurship in areas such as bike share, importation and sale of bikes and spare parts.
- The health and wellness of Kenyans will be improved. A person living in Langata, Buruburu, Kikuyu, Ngara, along Mombasa road etc need not sit in a public service vehicle for hours to get to work in the morning. That is enough time to do a relaxing ride into the city, take a quick shower and be at her desk by 8am.