Grabbed Walkways Turn Nairobi Into Hell for Pedestrians [VIDEO]

  • File image of Nairobi resident walking on the busy streets
    File image of Nairobi resident on the busy streets
  • Nairobi pedestrians face the daunting task of walking on the edge of busy roads and highways as most walkways in the city have been encroached upon by kiosk owners, hawkers and boda boda operators.

    Pedestrian paths are the new speeding lanes for some boda boda operators, further endangering the lives of pedestrians.

    The county demolitions department in conjunction with the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) have often tried unsuccessfully to drive them away by demolishing kiosks and sheds.

    File image of hawkers along the Nairobi streets
    Image of hawkers along the Nairobi streets

    "Drivers and riders encroaching on pedestrian walkways and cycling lanes will face prosecution as well as having their license suspended," read an excerpt from a statement issued by NMS in November 2020.

    However, in some neighborhoods, road pavements have been transformed into parking lots for long-distance trucks and decommissioned matatus.

    In Nairobi's Central Business District (CBD) Moi Avenue, Tom Mboya Street and Ronald Ngala are head and shoulders above the rest in so far as pedestrian pavements are concerned. 

    Here, pedestrian rights is a rumor, as hawkers, handcart pushers, boda bodas and matatus take over the pavements.

    On Mombasa Road, all footbridges are boda boda cycling lanes (as pedestrians opt to cross at dangerous sections). On the Airport North Road, hawkers literally own the footbridge

    A study by the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) revealed that in Nairobi's CBD, the space allocated to streets and pavements is only about 12% of the total land area, 

    This is less than half of the estimated 30% required to support a functioning traffic system in a modern capital.

    Crowded and busy Nairobi streets
    Crowded and busy Nairobi streets

    NMS constructed new non-motorised corridors along a number of streets and avenues in the capital city with notable ones being those along Kenyatta Avenue, Wabera and Muindi Mbingu Streets.

    However these have also been encroached by boda boda riders who are engaged in a constant cat-and-mouse game whenever they spot county askaris on the prowl.

    Catch a glimpse of what Nairobi pedestrians and cyclists have to deal with everyday below: