UNRA wants city markets off roads

UNRA ED Allen Kagina

Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) is seeking the relocation of market vendors from roads within the urban centres.
Some of the markets that UNRA wants removed from the roadsides include those in Kalerwe, Kireka and Busega in Kampala, and Abayita-Ababiri on Entebbe road in Wakiso district.
UNRA executive director Allen Kagina, says that a number of markets keep springing up on every road that is constructed posing a lot of danger to road users. Kagina was speaking at a consultative conference with Members of Parliament at the Kampala Serena Hotel yesterday.
“When we construct roads, it changes people’s livelihood, one of the things that has happened especially around the roads radiating out of Kampala and major towns closer to Kampala, people very quickly build markets,” Kagina said.
Kagina attributed road accidents on the Northern-bypass and Kireka-Banda area along Jinja road on the vendors who jam the roads and people end up being knocked especially in the night.
“I think the Northern-bypass has three markets in the day and around four markets at night and these completely block the road. So what was supposed to be a quick route around town has been a major hindrance, in fact it is faster to go through town than to use the Northern-bypass”, Kagina said.
Kagina also explained that it takes a person three hours at Abayita-Ababiri when they are leaving or going to Entebbe because of a roadside market that ‘narrows’ the road – causing unnecessary traffic jam.
She said that officials from UNRA will soon be going on a campaign to sensitise the public not to build markets in road reserves. Kagina said that on average, every week two people are knocked dead around the Kireka market .

“We have seen on the Northern-bypass the growth of the markets and they start at about 5.30 to 6pm and then by 9-10pm it is full blown. They are using tadooba [paraffin candles] and you can’t see. Children are crossing the road, women are carrying things on their heads and vehicles just ram into them. There are many deaths on the Northern-bypass, Kalerwe, Abayita-Abibiri, when you are leaving the airport or your moving towards the airport and you can get stuck there not because the road is narrow but because it is being jammed by people who are selling and buying. And because they are selling and buying, it means those who have come to buy, come in the taxi and stop at that very spot. Sometimes you find 5-6 taxis adjacent to the market”, she said.

Kagina also cited the need to carry out a study on a burden posed by traffic jam on the country’s economy.

On-going expansion works on the Northern-bypass

“Everybody has a lead car, sometimes lead cars are in a jam themselves, one lead car has jammed another and another, it just doesn’t make sense anymore,” Kagina said.
“We have not done this [study] but I think it is something we should take up and actually analyse the cost of that [traffic jam] to the economy. If you’re coming to work in the morning and you’re stuck at a market for 3 hours, what does that translate into as far as productivity is concerned? Because, if you’re supposed to be on the job [for] 8 hours and you can only be there for four hours that means you have cost the economy that amount of hours and yet you are going to be compensated for it in your salary. So, that is a study we must do see what traffic jams are costing us”, she added. 

She said that UNRA has information that Uganda has lost tourists to Kenya and Rwanda because of heavy traffic on Entebbe-Kampala road.
“Those markets have brought us enormous problems. It is very hard to control people in markets. Everyone has their motives and destination so you can’t channel them and direct them where they should pass because it is a market. The problem comes when they put a market on a road with heavy traffic; they cause traffic jam as well as increasing accidents. Northern-bypass, Kalerwe, Nansana, Busega all has markets that shouldn’t be there because they are on the road. 

The main purpose for the construction of the Northern bypass was to ease traffic out of the city. But now the bypass doesn’t serve that purpose anymore because markets are blocking traffic. We are in the process of expanding the Northern bypass to make it a dual carriage way but even if we do that, it will have no meaning for as long the markets are still on roads.”, she added.

This post originally appeared on observer.ug. Click here to read more....

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