Some things get you so worked up you feel like pulling off your hair. That you can’t do anything to rectify such a problem only adds to your frustration. With no other resort, a pen and paper offers you a futile if cathartic avenue of addressing the problem. Here’s to hoping that with a wider audience, maybe the issue might be picked up by relevant authorities or bring together a critical mass to a common cause which might offer a solution. Or maybe the constitution, that panacea of seemingly all our problems, might just provide a way out of this nightmare.
The problem I’m alluding to is the unnecessary traffic in South C and Nairobi West caused by the diversion of traffic from an international highway into a residential area. Link road, a ‘road’ barely 20m in length is causing untold suffering to residents of the aforementioned estates by causing perpetual traffic throughout the day. This is the road that joins South C with Mombasa road just before the flyover. (See map attached)
The road marked in red shows the route used by traffic diverted from Mombasa road while the ‘blue’ roads shows the resultant tailback in South C.
While appreciating that planners of Nairobi had the best intentions in providing a gateway to Mombasa road from South C, the short sightedness in having such an inlet is truly baffling. The problem starts whenever there is a tailback of traffic on Mombasa road which is almost always the case. To escape this traffic, impatient drivers end up driving through South C and Nairobi West, rejoining the Highway at the Bunyala road roundabout via Aerodrome road. The result of this is endless traffic within the estate at whatever time of day.
The situation is so dire that some residents find traffic right outside their gates, forcing them to wait up to 15 minutes just to reverse their cars out of the driveway. The same impatient drivers will not give way and are willing to overlap or do anything that will hasten their journey. You therefore end up having personal and company cars, route 33 & 110 matatus, Rwaken & Karuri minibuses, trailers, oil tankers and every other sort of vehicle in the estate, polluting the air and congesting the estate. To avoid all this, you have to leave the house by 6am or be prepared to take half an hour just to get out of South C.
Temporary respite came recently in the form of road rehabilitation of the Link road meaning the road had to be closed to all traffic. The resultant transformation of the traffic situation in South C and Nairobi West, temporary as it may be was remarkable to say the least. This turn of events offered a glimpse of how much easier life would be for the residents of these estates if this nightmare of a road had not been in existence. The seamless entry and exit into your home was reminiscent of the situation in South B, a neighborhood adjacent to the highway on the opposite side but whose traffic situation couldn’t be any more different. South B is lucky enough not to have a direct inlet from the traffic headed to the city center from Mombasa road avoiding such unnecessary traffic.
I find no justification in having this road as it does little to ease the traffic on Mombasa road but seeing as a whole road cannot be closed, something of a middle ground must be reached to alleviate this suffering. The constitution establishes county assemblies where such local issues can be addressed and solutions provided. After the election, whoever is elected as the South C ward representative and his/her Nairobi West counterpart should make it their number one priority to address this problem. A proposed solution would be the conversion of the Link road into a one way outlet that joins South C to Mombasa road. This will maintain the relevance of the road while restricting the traffic diversion into the estate. As for accessing South C from Mombasa road, I am certain a majority of South C residents will happily use the Bellevue entrance if it meant no endless traffic jam in the estate.
Once this is done, the county reps can then focus on our other major problem of drainage and security. The establishment of factories within the estate such as Supa Loaf should also be looked into but I’ll rant about that in a separate blog post. Until then, we will have to contend with leaving the house while it’s still dark or get stuck in traffic within the estate with ‘me first’ drivers who will happily run you off the road if it means getting to their destination ‘on time’.