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Motorists Banned from CBD as Kisumu Ramps Up Non-Motorized Transport

NMT push part of Kisumu's larger beautification plan

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County enforcement Officials in Kisumu on Tuesday, February 23 implemented a ban on all motorised transport in the Central Business District (CBD) under the Sh241 million non-motorised transport (NMT) project in the county.

Hundreds of drivers, boda boda operators and tuk-tuks were ejected from the CBD as the county executed the city’s beautification project. 

Through donor funding by the World Bank through the State Department of Urban Development under the Kenya Urban Support Programme, the city has been implementing beautification projects including the NMT, which is meant to ensure pedestrians and cyclists enjoy improved convenience, comfort, and safety by decongesting the CBD. 

“We are reorganising the traffic flow because we want the streets to be non-motorised for people to walk not for cars to park and congest the streets,” said Acting Kisumu City Manager Abala Wanga

The Kisumu County government had, in general, began the city beautification project which partly focuses on relocating commercial activities outside the CBD to enhance growth in the suburbs.

Aerial view of a section of Kisumu
Aerial view of a section of Kisumu

Under the NMT, a Sh37 million market called Chichwa was constructed. Its stalls accommodate 518 traders, while its open-air section has 240 others.

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The market has water reticulation, electricity, spacious stalls, security services, and controlled trading areas. It also has three ultramodern ablution blocks.

In the notice that took effect on Monday, February 22, motorists are allowed a 5-minute drop off for passengers. This drew criticism from people living with disabilities on the practicability of disembarking from a vehicle within that time.

Wanga added that discussions regarding the matter with the Head of disability in the county were ongoing.

Last year, he disclosed that a modern bus park at Nyamasaria Satellite for Sh99.8 million was in the works.

Affected motorists have called for revocation of the notice to give time for wider and more inclusive consultation, urging the county government to put in place structures that will ensure a smooth transition.

Early in 2021, Wanga issued a notice directing heavy vehicles to use Kondele bypass and not the CBD.

The directive, Wanga said, took effect on December 21, 2020. He asserted that the move targets to restore order and reduce traffic delays in the city.

Last year, Wanga also barred town service vehicles from accessing the CBD. The vehicles were required to end their trip at Kisumu Boys roundabout.

Wanga said they want to make Kisumu clean, orderly and conducive to business. 

On December 4, 2020, the county government ordered bus companies operating stations with the CBD to relocate out of town by New Year. Wanga told the companies to move to alternative stations.

In a notice, he said the city has powers under the Urban and Cities Act, 2011, to issue such directives as most buses are operating offices within the main bus park in town.

Buses such as Easy Coach, Guardian, Periska and Ena Coach have offices within the CBD and have to vacate following the directive, with action to be taken against companies that fail to comply.

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MARTIN SIELEhttps://loud.co.ke/
Martin K.N Siele is the Content Lead at Business Today. He is also a Quartz contributor and a 2021 Baraza Media Lab-Fringe Graph Data Storytelling Fellow. Passionate about digital media, sports and entertainment, Siele also founded Loud.co.ke
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