The presence of several food stores in Nairobi’s downtown area of Nyamakima has become a hindrance to City Hall’s campaign to ease traffic in the capital.
Every day, several trucks ferry cereals to the stores. The heavy commercial vehicles end up obstructing traffic, especially upcountry matatus, which have been allocated most of the parking space on the streets in the area.
“These trucks have become a nuisance here since they obstruct the road for hours as they wait for the goods to be offloaded,” Mr James Kinyanjui, a matatu owner, told the Nation yesterday.
“What makes the situation worse is the presence of several handcart pullers who ferry the food to markets,” he added.
He was referring to the permanent traffic gridlock along Mwimbi Road, which connects Kirinyaga Road with Cross Road and Duruma Road.
Cross Road has been converted into a terminus for matatus that ply between Nairobi and the following areas: Nakuru, Kericho, Nyahururu and Narok.
For the matatus to access the street from Kirinyaga Road, they have to pass through Mwimbi Road, which is always impassable owing to the obstruction by the trucks and handcart pullers.
Due to the presence of the cereal stores, the Mwimbi Road, Cross Road and Duruma Road intersection has been turned into a bazaar that extends to Duruma Road.
Matatu drivers end up spending hours on Mwimbi Road, waiting for the traffic to clear at the intersection.
“Sometimes we spend almost two hours along this stretch, waiting for the traffic to start flowing and this happens only when the trucks leave the area,” said Mr James Kiongo, a matatu driver. He said they have been urging the county government to move the food stores to end the traffic snarl-up.
“We are losing a lot of money daily due to the traffic jam,” he said.
County Transport Executive Mohammed Abdullahi said he would engage matatu owners in a bid to solve the problem.
In the mornings, matatu drivers have to drop their passengers on Kirinyaga Road and look for temporary parking space before accessing Mwimbi Road. They wait for another one or two hours before picking up passengers.
This is the scenario in downtown Nairobi, which was initially designated as a place for traders coming to buy cereals at the stores for resale at the nearby Kariokor, Wakulima and Muthurwa markets.
As the demand for more parking space increased with the growing population, the now defunct city council converted the place into a terminus for matatus.
Source: Daily Nation