Kisumu plans bike-sharing as traders warm up to Sh450m park

President Uhuru Kenyatta and other leaders inspecting ongoing work at Kisumu's Uhuru Business Park

KISUMU, KENYA: Thousands of traders displaced from Kisumu Central Business District, (CBD), are now warming up to occupy the new Sh450 million Uhuru Business Park.

The new market shades are expected to accommodate up to 10,000 traders who were removed from the CBD streets to pave way for new infrastructural development.

The construction of the shades comes at a time the city is also repositioning to host over 11,000 delegates during the Africities conference in November.

On Tuesday, when the Standard visited Uhuru Business Park, contractors were doing final painting and patchworks ahead of the reopening as the acting city manager Abala Wanga supervised the works.

Already, the market shades perimeter wall rails have been painted with national flag colours. The base has orange colours.

The park is one of the flagship projects by President Uhuru Kenyatta's administration that came as a result of a handshake with ODM leader Raila Odinga.

The contractor had about 10 months to finish the work and is now in the final month.
President Uhuru and Raila recently visited the park and were impressed with the new artwork and architectural designs.

Many traders in the city are eyeing the shades as a number of them are either out of business or operating as hawkers with no permanent stalls.

Wanga and Nyong'o assured the traders they will be accommodated in the new market shades. Some were displaced from the Kisumu port road reserves.

Others had encroached on public parks and walkways making it difficult for the city authorities to give it a facelift.

The government is keen on ensuring multi-billion shillings infrastructure projects launched by President Uhuru and Raila in Kisumu completed by early this year.

Currently, apart from the new market shades, Kisumu County is also erecting pavements in the town using cabros. All roads leading to or from town are to be tarmacked.

According to City planner Stephen Sule, the plan to promote cycling in the city is the reason behind the redesigning of the pedestrian walkways, parking bays, and crossing lines among others.

The system will be pegged on an initiative dubbed "Bike Sharing" which involves impromptu bike renting that will help Kisumu urban areas reduce automotive traffic and pollution caused by vehicles.

 This would provide locals and tourists with a convenient, cheap, and healthy means of transport.

''Once we complete the ongoing building of the infrastructure we want to introduce and make Bike-sharing an integral part of public transportation in the city streets and its environment,'' Sule explained.

He told the Standard it will work with well-developed road infrastructure which is currently going on.

''If we do the roads, we will introduce the shared Bikes which will see visitors purchase short-term subscriptions at bike stations themselves at designated places within the city streets,'' he explained.

This proposed new system will see residents visit a station’s electronic kiosk, choose the duration for which they need access to the service, and swipe an electronic credit card like ATM to access the Bikes.

''Upon doing so, the clients will receive an unlocking code which they can then use to release a bike from the docking station,'' Sule explained of the new shared Bike system in the making.

Thereafter the Bike user or client can start exploring the city riding on a bicycle. ''When you reach your desired destination in the city, you can find a nearby station and return your bike.,'' Sule told Standard.

He disclosed they will design and make bike docks. This will enable users to make sure to lock the bike carefully by pushing the front wheel into an empty dock in various designated areas in the city.

''Users will apply for the services online. Long-term subscriptions will be purchased online.,'' according to Wanga.
He said they were keen to promote choices that will in the long run reduce the impacts of driving alone.

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