Monday, 6 February 2012

"Like paradise"

United Nations Avenue in Nairobi has become a beacon for safe and sustainable road transport, providing safe space for both vehicles and pedestrians and cyclists. Recently re-modelled by the Kenyan Urban Roads Authority (Kura) as an initiative of the UN Environment Programme's 'Share the Road' campaign, which is supported by the Road Safety Fund, the road was featured as a good news story in Kenya's 'Standard' newspaper:

'...the design of the road lays as much emphasis on pedestrians and cyclists as it does on motorists. To achieve this, one side of the road has been divided into three parts: A pedestrian walkway that measures two metres, a cycling lane measuring three metres and the normal road for motorists...the contractor has put multiple protective rails each with a reflective tape for night vision.

...Drivers on the road have given the project the thumbs up, saying it would now be difficult to cause an accident. Mr Murithi Gitau, a matatu driver plying Gachie route, said his wish would be to have all the roads in Nairobi transformed in a similar manner. "At night its like paradise, the reflectors make us see the road properly", offered Gitau.'

There has also been a positive reaction from cyclists and pedestrians using the route (shown above right during construction). The challenge now is to extend the philosophy of safe shared space beyond a model road and onto the wider network, not only in Nairobi but in cities across the world.

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