The other side of Nakuru’s Sh75m bus park
| Dec 10th 2021 | 3 min read
On your marks. Get set. Go! This has become the norm for pedestrians intending to enter or leave the new bus park in Nakuru City.
The county opened the Sh75 million bus park on Monday.
Scenes of women and children running across the busy Geoffrey Kamau Way, which is part of the Nakuru-Eldoret Highway, are now the order of the day at the new city’s main roundabout.
Pedestrians have to cross the four-lane highway at an area with no designated crossings and through the Gatehouse Roundabout, leaving them at the mercy of kind motorists.
James Wakibia, an activist, described the new terminus as a ticking time bomb if no safety measures are put in place to aid pedestrians cross the highway.
“The new terminus was to address congestion, but with no safe pedestrian crossing points, the highway is now a death trap. The county should address the matter urgently,” said Wakibia.
He blamed the county government for allowing the matatu operators to use the new terminus before all safety measures were in place.
“The county government should have collaborated with other bodies such as the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) to set up footbridges. The rush will cost human lives,” he said.
Wanjiku Kihika, another activist, noted that relocating the stage was a noble idea, but its plan was not well thought out.
“Having the terminus exit directly joining the highway at a major roundabout is causing even more traffic. It is placing the lives of all users in grave danger,” said Wanjiku.
Peter Kariuki, A matatu driver thanked the county government for the new terminus but said that the safety of its users should have come first.
“The terminus exit directly joins the main roundabout. This not only places the lives of matatu operators and their passengers and other motorists, especially long-distance trucks plying the highway,” said Kariuki.
David Saitoti, a traveller, said that they were at the mercy of kind motorists willing to give way to pedestrians.
“Traffic along the highway has to come to a halt for passengers to cross to the terminus. One has to keep begging them to slow down. At times, one is caught up in the middle of fast-moving vehicular traffic,” said Saitoti.
Jane Wambui took issue with the county government, saying that the location is not friendly to the elderly and persons living with a disability.
“Assisting the elderly and persons with disabilities to cross the road is an uphill task. They are slow and fearful even when being assisted. Mean motorists speed along, maintaining they are on the right. Such acts of kindness are placing multiple lives in danger,” said Wambui.
But the county had explained why it has not erected a footbridge on the busy highway.
According to the county planning team, a footbridge had been factored but the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) objected to the design.
“KeNHA objected to the plan on grounds that they will be constructing a viaduct thus the footbridge would interfere with the plan. In fact, they demanded more space and ended up eating to what we had allocated for the bus park,” an official from the department told The Standard on phone.
The officer said following public outcry, the County has deployed traffic marshals to help those crossing the road.
“Plans are underway to erect speed bumps as we wait for further directions from KeNHA,” he said.
Additional reporting by Patrick Vidija
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