Nairobi Bike Lanes to Cut Congestion

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Pedestrians and a bicyclist travel along the new Thika Road superhighway in Nairobi. ALERTNET/Gitonga Njeru

Around 100 km (60 miles) of new highway have been built in the Nairobi area alone, equipped along much of their length with dedicated lanes for those who wish to ride their bikes instead of driving. Mwai Kibaki, Kenya’s outgoing president, opened the highways in December 2012. Cyclists in Nairobi are benefiting from the Kenyan government’s plan to reduce congestion and pollution with new highway construction. The government has created bike lanes on a new superhighway in the capital and lowered taxes on bicycles to encourage urban residents to use them. The aim is to make people less dependent on cars, easing the city’s notorious traffic clogs and reducing carbon emissions from vehicles.

Nairobi has a population of approximately 3 million but since many people commute to the city from nearby towns there are more than 7 million users on its roads each day, officials estimate. This figure includes motorists, pedestrians and about 150,000 bicyclists, according to the African Development Bank, which financed the $360 million road construction project jointly with the Chinese government.

In Nairobi, the new 50 km Thika Road superhighway has up to eight lanes. Bike lanes run along the outside for about half its length, and there are footbridges for pedestrians. The government’s plan to encourage people to use bicycles and rely less on cars is part of a climate change policy initiated in early 2010. Users of the new bike lanes praise them primarily as time savers. Construction is expected to begin in the third quarter of this year, with the goal of eventually increasing the country’s road network from the current 100,000 miles (160,000 km) to half a million miles (800,000 km).

Full story: Nairobi’s New Bike Lanes Aim to Cut Congestion and Pollution

Published on Mon, 15 Apr 2013 in AlertNet

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