Bring traffic chaos to a halt

HARARE - Harare is currently experiencing a large influx of people moving in from different parts of the country in search of a good living.

Thus the value attached to Harare has led to a drastic increase in the number of people coming into the city.

Every morning from 6:30am to 9am, all roads leading to Harare city are jammed with traffic littered with traffic jam.

Motor vehicles, kombis and pedestrians are all seen trying to access the city centre.

The same situation occurs in the evening from 4.30pm to 7pm as people retire to their homes after a busy day.

In both cases, the situation worsens after a heavy downpour.

Many hours are lost each day by commuters due to traffic jams, costing the economy a lot of dollars.

This points at areas such as Sam Nujoma, Copacabana, Market Square, Fourth Street, Robert Mugabe Avenue and Chinhoyi Street where many streets are blocked by kombis loading people to different destinations.

This happens daily and the flow of traffic is impossible in the nearby streets.

While Harare was planned for only 500 000 people soon after independence, and at that time, it was designed as a business centre with a few public offices. 

But currently, almost all government ministries and other public offices are located in Harare. So the question is: what does the city need, new buses or flyovers? Town planners argue the government needs to construct flyovers in Harare as a move to decongest the city.

Will the construction of flyovers put to rest the problem of congestion in Harare? The answer to that will come with time. This is where efficient planning is required. There are questions city planners should ask themselves to efficiently plan for the city: What brings many people to Harare? Where do they come from? And lastly why are other cities not congested? If the above questions are not comprehensively answered, a sustainable solution cannot be found. 

Given the dire finances in government, this also questions the economic feasibility of Obert Mpofu’s project to introduce buses or ring roads that will have urban tolls.

Will this fix the problem? There is a socio-economic internal migration of Zimbabwe, with Harare being the centre of gravity, as it were.

So what is the way forward? Let the government invest that money to improve service delivery in areas vulnerable to internal migration. Improvement of city transport is equally important; but better planning is required.

What still baffles the mind is whether the colonial psyche is still affecting our minds to the extent of thinking that Harare is the only city with development potential for Zimbabwe?

A better city is where city residents can work, grow, live and be secure — these form the attributes of a better city.

Another option could be developing the existing towns. This will no doubt reduce pressure on Harare.

Comments (2)

Who did you people in Harare vote for?? You have to suffer for your sins.Look at Uzumba/Marambapfungwe & other rural areas. Very soon gvt will build big cities & factories there.

rwarirofa - 3 June 2014

At Independance the government came up with a very noble idea of developing rural service centres into 'Growth Points' so that economic activities would be centered around them creating employment and curbing the influx of young people into cities. But tribalism and the hunger for power diluted all that and everything had to be done in Harare. In the referendum for a new constitution, people voted overwhelmingly for devolution and decentralisation. Maybe in our 'Look East Policy' we should consult India on their plans at rebuilding and decongesting Mumbai which has a population of well over 13 million people -one of them being constructing fly-overs.

Dr Know - 3 June 2014

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