Is Nairobi Express way a good idea

I’m excited to write about this coz this was one of my school papers that I enjoyed giving my opinion on. Now that I’m running this blog, I don’t see the reason why not to write about it here. First post this year I’ll be taking suggestions on what you want to be reading.

Allow me to summarize bits about the expressway. The State-backed multi-billion-shilling expressway that is to be developed would ease traffic along Mombasa Road, Uhuru Highway, and Waiyaki Way. Construction began in October 2019 and the road is planned to be in operation by June next year.

The expressway will have four-lane and six-lane dual carriageways within the current median of Mombasa Road, Uhuru Highway, and Waiyaki Way, as well as 10 interchanges. The segment from the Eastern and Southern by-passes would be a six-lane dual carriageway, while the section from the Southern Bypass to James Gichuru will be a four-lane dual carriageway.

The purpose of the project is to allow a relatively limited number of personal vehicles to move faster. The highway traffic forecast predicts that approximately 22,000 private motor vehicles will use the facility compared to over 500,000 planned passengers per day on Line 1 BRT. Motorists using the Nairobi Expressway under construction can prepare to pay toll charges as high as Sh1,798 for each journey.          

The worrying issues concerning the project:

  • Road designs and construction plans tend to have little concern for green spaces, yet green spaces are at the center of sustainable development.
  • The project requires a substantial acquisition of land, partially due to the need for large areas for toll plazas. This makes the project costly and will draw on funds that could otherwise be invested in much-needed sustainable transport alternatives for 80% of Nairobi’s walking and cycling residents.
  • The business model of the project promotes the use of private cars. This goes against the best practice in urban mobility of reducing the use of personal motor vehicles. It also goes against attempts to remedy existing inequality and to tackle local air pollution and climate change.

Other long-term impacts of road expansion are increased car travel, increased demand for parking (which is already limited), increased fuel consumption, vehicle exhaust pollution, and road accidents.

Many of these overhead urban highways have proved to attract more cars and lead to changes in adjacent use because of perceived ‘infrastructure improvements’ which results in more congestion. After finding they didn’t help alleviate the congestion of traffic, several cities that had set up overhead highways have finally taken them down.

Will the project have a positive impact on the common man? It would be curious to see how this toll policy works and how the public reacts, as the same thing happened in Johannesburg and the drivers actually refused to pay for what they did not pay for before – which contributed to significant financial difficulties for the national road agency and its ability to do their job.

Now here is the importance of public participation, I came across this tweet and it was a good idea however the main concern about the cycling path under the Expressway will be the security of cyclists. If the spaces won’t be used it will be claimed by the homeless for shelter or hawkers and small shops.

What are your thoughts on the ongoing construction of the Nairobi expressway?

Here are some of your thoughts from my insta stories.