The Kampala Capital City Authority, KCCA has redesigned Namirembe Road and Luwum Street to create a conducive shopping environment in order to promote business in the Central Business District. This stretch starts from Entebbe Road through Luwum street down to Namirembe road, up to Bakuli Junction.
Amidst bustling businesses, people shopping, taxi touts calling out to passengers, to hundreds of Boda Bodas carrying or seeking passengers, this makes shopping very unsafe and unpleasant in the Central Business District of Kampala. As a result, businesses miss potential customers, as many opt not to shop in this unpleasant environment.
Now, KCCA Ag. Executive Director Eng. Andrew Kitaka says that by March 2020, residents of Kampala will enjoy shopping without worrying about speeding bodas and taxis. “And we are certain businesses will record high sales with more people shopping. For example, part of the business district in Jerusalem, Israel was redesigned to only be accessible by light rail in 2011. No cars were allowed in this area. The number of shoppers increased because it was more accessible, and the shopping experience was pleasant. Business owners, who had earlier objected this concept during the construction phase, realized unmatched profits and now are big supporters of pedestrian shopping streets” he noted
Construction work for the 2 kilometre Non-motorized transport Corridor started in April 2018 and is due be completed by March 2020. It was financed by the Government of Uganda at about 4 billion Shillings. KCCA also received support for the design of the non-motorized transport corridor in 2011 to 2013 from United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN- Habitat), and Gouddapel Coffeng of Netherlands.
According to Kitaka, KCCA has consulted and involved the business community along the route in collaboration with KACITA and found that there is little knowledge among the business community about the benefits of non motorized shopping areas, there is fear of interference with business operations and reduction in customers, there are concerns about access to Luwumu & Namirembe road and delivery of goods to businesses, Taxi and boda operators are also concerned about their very existence and access to passengers, clients and customers are uncertain of what is planned and need guidance from KCCA.
The NMT corridor (Entebbe Road through Luwum Street to Bakuli Junction) will not totally ban cars, taxis or buses from the entire route but will restrict them in certain sections of the route. In certain sections of the route, vehicles will be allowed only at certain hours for delivery of goods (late night and very early morning before 10 PM to 6 AM). KCCA is planning to work with a vendor to provide bicycles or scooters for hire along this corridor, which has special bicycle lanes, route Guides and traffic signage will be displayed at junctions and along the route, no street vendors, taxi touts or bodas will be allowed in this area. Only licensed businesses, buyers, citizens, and guests of Kampala city will be allowed to operate in this area, KCCA shall work with its enforcement team and Uganda Police Forces to ensure businesses operate smoothly and in accordance with set regulations.
“We appeal to business owners, customers, vendors and residents of Kampala to support this initiative and protect all the street furniture, street lights, benches, and flowers, grass” Kitaka said.
A two directional flow of vehicles will be permitted from Bakuli (Mengo) to Jaguar bus terminal; access will be permitted for vehicles of ONLY residents and businesses around Jaguar bus terminal and Kobil, as well as loading and offloading merchandise late at night from 10 PM to 6 AM in the morning.
Meanwhile, Kitaka also said vehicles will be allowed in one direction from Pride theatre to Mackay Road (New Taxi Park) & Kisenyi Road, Vehicles will be allowed from Entebbe Road to Dastur in one direction. From Ben Kiwanuka Street and Burton Street vehicles will be restricted, while, traffic on Ben Kiwanuka and Burton Street will be allowed to cross the NMT route but with signalized control at the Ben Kiwanuka Junction.
The route is expected to increase sales and income for businesses that will attract buyers because of an organized, safe and pleasant shopping experience, customers will be safer as they shop in an area free of reckless motorists and bodas, part of the city will be de-congested.
Other benefits are; Car use and air pollution will be controlled, all business people and customers shall enjoy clean air and be healthier due to reduced air pollution from cars entering the city and the redesigned route will have wider green spaces for recreation, street benches and shades for shoppers, and walking paths to encourage walking as a way of living healthy.
While addressing the press at Uganda Media Centre on Monday morning, Kitaka appealed to all businesses to operate in accordance with set regulations, as well as observe loading and offloading hours (10pm to 5am). He added that all motorists - cars, boda, taxi, lorries, buses should follow the route guide and appealed to business owners, customers, vendors and residents of Kampala to support this initiative and protect all the street furniture, street lights, benches, and flowers, grass etc.
Street vendors shall only operate in designated areas. “We appeal to all vendors to abide by these guidelines.”