The (mini)case for more city roads and better public transport

The other evening I was meeting up with a mate for a business discussion at Chameleon bar across town. I set off from Area 47 at 6:25pm for the 6:30pm meeting. I expected to make it on time or at least a minute late. I ended up arriving 10 minutes late and all because I had underestimated the amount of traffic I would encounter on the way. The roads were clogged as if it were still 5pm rush hour.

Yesterday at lunch I found myself making a trip from City Centre to Old Town. By the time I reached my destination my feet were sore from the fifteen minutes of constant braking and accelerating.

We have too many cars on our roads and it’s affecting the environment and our health. I have the pleasure of working from home so don’t share the pain of those who have to make daily commutes to work. There is need for our city fathers to work on getting cars off the roads or making the road infrastructure better.

Provision of more dual lanes and increased parking lots is one way of dealing with it. Some of the illegal parking that takes place actually causes traffic jams. Property developers should also be forced into providing bigger parking areas than is currently the case. An example is the Blantyre City Assembly’s move to clamp cars that park ‘illegally’ but not providing enough public parking facilities. One tends to wonder where all the money from parking tickets and fines goes to.

Alternatively the newly introduced dual lanes should have a lane dedicated to high occupancy vehicles, buses and cyclists. The rest can use the other lane. This will encourage car pooling and also allow people to use buses other than their cars. It requires lots of civic education but it is very feasible. Cities like Johannesburg and Copenhagen have dedicated lanes for buses and cyclists and they work. It won’t happen overnight but it will work if everyone works together to make it happen.

If we don’t deal with this problem sooner rather than later it we will be heading for a gridlock!

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2 Responses

  1. vee says:

    Hear Hear Austin!! I would like to see the widening of all major roads in the city as well. Since Lilongwe was already planned to have dual / triple carriage roads, this shouldn't be difficult to implement as there is limited infrastructure close to most of the main roads limiting expansion,… well except for power lines.

    Let's hope after the completion of Japanese funded/ Jo'burg mentored Lilongwe city development strategy / Master Plan in a years time, we'll start to see major changes in Lilongwe.

    check out these links for more info on the development strategy.

    http://www.joburg.org.za/content/view/2357/168/

    http://www.jica.go.jp/english/operations/social_environmental/pro_asia/pdf/malawi02_01.pdf

    And also — whenever you can — could you pls add pictures of any major developments in the city — be it the New Nico mall or the parliament building on your blog.

    Regards,

    -Vee

  2. Hi Vee,

    Interesting stuff. When I was talking about this someone confirmed these developments. And immediately after I wrote this article I heard of some SA initiative to introduce public transport along the lines of the newly introduced Rea Vaya in Joburg. Good stuff!!

    Not much work on the shopping complex but the parliament building is looking good. Will get some shots soon.

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