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Kampala plans car- free zone for cyclists

A plan to reduce road accidents involving pedestrians and cyclists in the city has gained traction, with a planned piloting of a car-free zone along Namirembe road, Bakuli, Luwum street, and Entebbe road.

The programme, expected to receive funding from development partners, including the World Bank and Germany’s KFW, is anticipated to reduce deaths on city roads by half. It has been dubbed Smart moving Kampala.

Once this non motorised transport (NMT) zone pilot is successful, the project will be extended to other parts of the city.

Speaking at a workshop that discussed how cyclists and pedestrians could be protected in the city recently, Eng Andrew Kitaka, the director of Engineering and Technical Services at Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), said planning had been biased towards motorized transport for too long.

“We want to change this because most people are into walking and cycling but not cars,” Kitaka said on February 17.

Indeed, 60 per cent of people who work in the city centre use NMT (walking and bicycle cycling) to reach their stations. Only 40 per cent use private cars, boda bodas, and taxis.

Yet riding a bicycle on Kampala streets can be equated to attempting suicide. Official statistics show that a third of the accidents that happen in the city centre involve a pedestrian or a cyclist.

Amanda Ngabirano, an urban planner and designer of the pilot project, said that besides having a health impact, once implemented NMT would help reduce the perennial traffic jam that has bogged down the city. It would also reduce on pollution by cars.

The project is estimated to cost about $2.35m (Shs 5.7bn).


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