Sunday, March 23, 2008

Muthurwa L.O.V.E.

Muthurwa is marked RED!

I took a trip to Eastlands last week to chec on my folks. Of course I'd been following the news about the 'Walking' Nation scenario ever since the Local Government minister decided to take a shot at solving the traffic and hawker situation in one stroke, by making all Eastlands public transport stop at the new stage opposite Country bus station, and having the commuters walk through the hawkers market on their way into the CBD.

I decided to go on a Sunday afternoon, figuring that it was the period with least traffic, and I'd heard nightmare stories from workmates about the great trek especially during rush hour. Walking through Tom Mboya Street, it hit me that something was different, almost not right. Turns out I'm walking on the sidewalk without issues, and the road is devoid of much traffic. With the hawkers gone and the matatus relocated, the space is refreshing. However, the human traffic seems to have increased in size.

I slowly made my way across town to the entrance of the new Muthurwa market (eeh this isn't a short walk). Evidently, the place is far from completion, with work on going, and the makeshift entrance being too small and therefore very crowded. Hawkers of course consider this a good location, and many of them have etched their names on floor and wall spaces to stake their claim despite the fact that no one is meant to have a permanent place.

One has to walk through the market to find the vehicles and of course this for a first timer is a bit tricky. Once on board, I got to see why there is a bottleneck. The three lane Jogoo road rush hour traffic is forced into a two then one lane entrance, with no option of overtaking or exiting till the end. Woe to any vehicle that stalls in between! As of last week, a new exit was opened but still hasn't gotten things to flow freely. A plan to bring shuttle buses from there into town is in the offing but isn't this just increasing the same traffic we are trying to reduce?

Clearly, this discongestion issue is going to take a while to effect, with talk of bus lanes, by passes and raised highways among other solutions mentioned. In the meantime, the bodabodas (and whoever gets that shuttle contract)will make their killing, while the rest of Nairobi waits to find out where their PSVs will be made to stop outside town. With parking fees set to rise, telecommuting or working outside the CBD is the best escape route for wasee wa Eastlands.

Keep walking ;-)

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At 4/09/2008 10:49 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

First day I took the bus to town from Eastland’s after the new rules were implemented, we were unceremoniously dumped by the road side at City Stadium. I huffed and puffed all the way to town, it wasn’t pleasant at all, by then there were no shuttle busses. I felt like I was being punished for not owning a car.

At 4/12/2008 7:05 pm , Blogger mwasjd said...

Pole mse. I've heard about that experience from many jamaas. Hopefully things are a bit better and you atleast are getting into Muthurwa. Punishment is a heavy word but describes exactly how commuters of Eastlands feel.

At 4/14/2008 11:52 am , Blogger Odegle said...

where exactly is the entrance, i was trying a tour like yours but instead met vehicles coming out. the inlets i saw were rather narrow. i think Kenyans have an obsession with narrow roads

At 4/18/2008 11:04 pm , Blogger mwasjd said...

The entrance for pedestrians is on the Wakulima side (near KPCU), it's pretty narrow & congested. For the matatus, They use the entrance opposite Kenya Meat Commission on Landhies road, with the exit being at the Jogoo Road roundabout. Atleast that's what I experienced the last time I was there. And yes, the roads are truly narrow, Kenyan phenomenon maybe...


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