Kampala traffic jam: What happened to metropolitan planning?

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Urbanization in Uganda is on the increase. According to the 2014 National Population and Housing Census, the urban population has reached 7.4 million, up from 1.7m in 1991.

This is a result of increase in the number of urban centres. By March 2016, there were 259 urban centres in Uganda. These include 33 Municipalities, 163 Town Councils and 62 Town Boards.

Urbanization particularly, in the three municipalities bordering Kampala: Mukono, Nansana and Kiira Municipalities have increased pressure on resources in Kampala.

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Unfortunately, there seems to be no joint planning in the mentioned municipalities yet they feed into one another.

For example, people, who work in Kampala, sleep in Nansana because there is low cost housing. Some people in Nansana have their children study in Kampala. With no public hospital in Nansana municipality, Kampala suffers the influx of patients.

The recent opening of the Seta-Namugongo road (which is Mukono Municipality) increased the traffic in Kwaliwajjala- Naalya( Which is Kiira Municipality). All this traffic is dumped into Kampala.

Unfortunately, the circular roads to convert this traffic are not worked on.

The National Housing and Construction Company is soon launching a mega housing project in Bukerere. When this project is finished, we are going to have more traffic jam and a real mess in Kyaliwajjala and Kampala. Already the traffic jam in Kyaliwajjala and Naalya, Ntinda is too much. It is just going to worsen if no prior planning is undertaken.

The other areas like Matugga, Manyangwa, Kasangati, Gayaza, Manyangwa, Kabanyolo university farm among others are fast developing. And looks like, there is no planning for the impending traffic jam feeding into Kampala.

To solve the current problems, the authorities, including, Uganda National Roads Authority, KCCA and the three municipalities: Nansana, Kiira and Mukono and KCCA must work together for joint planning.

The future

With the current state of affairs, future development is going to be indeed a problem. How are we going to solve the traffic jam when buildings and malls are built in the middle-of-the-road?

Look at the area’s we call high end-from Ntinda to Wandegeya, the buildings approved by the authorities are built in road reserves.

Crane Bank, Ham Towers in Ntinda are in the middle-of-the-road. The fly planned over in Kisasi Roundabout is likely to be useless. What will when happen the road reaches Ntinda town, where there seems to be no space for expansion.

A similar scenario happened in Nairobi, Kenya when the government wanted to put up an electric rail line; they had to break down huge malls like Nakumatt so that they could expand the road to cater for the heavy traffic. Huge amounts of money were spent on compensation.

Looks like, we are heading in the same direction. Do we have the money to compensate the owners of these developments?

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