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EDITORIAL: Lifting of ban welcome




Nairobians jostle for space on Ngara footbridge following start of the matatu central business district ban on December 3, 2018. PHOTO | JAMES KARIUKI | NMG 

Monday’s transport chaos in Nairobi was yet again a sad reminder of the casual manner in which our policy-makers take the art of government.

It was the clearest show of the thoughtlessness that produces creaky policy decisions with far-reaching implications on the public and the economy.

In principle, most Nairobi residents agree that the city needs a viable mass transport system to match its population and status as a regional economic hub.

But that will not come from short-sighted, knee-jerk actions such as the sudden barring of matatus from the central business district without thinking about the consequences.

We, therefore, welcome suspension of the ban but call on City Hall and urban planners to go back to the drawing board and come up with a long-term strategy to end the wasteful traffic jams in Nairobi.

Fact is that effective and sustainable solutions won’t come cheap. Huge capital investment in road, rail and other infrastructure to match our intentions will be unavoidable.

For instance, if the city planners want commuters to embrace healthier alternatives such as walking and bicycles then pedestrian walkways and special lanes for riders will have to be part of the plan.

As it stands now, most roads lack such provisions, making it risky to walk or safely ride bicycles.

Poor planning results in costly consequences of the type Nairobi is now grappling with.