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Politics and policy

Nairobi plans metro trains, special roads in next 15 years

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From left: Nairobi governor Evans Kidero, Jica official Koji Noda and City Hall’s Tom Odongo during the launch on Tuesday. Photo/Phoebe Okall

From left: Nairobi governor Evans Kidero, Jica official Koji Noda and City Hall’s Tom Odongo during the launch on Tuesday. Photo/Phoebe Okall 

By KIARIE NJOROGE, gkiarie@ke.nationmedia.com

Posted  Tuesday, May 27   2014 at  21:07

In Summary

  • Governor Evans Kidero said the Nairobi Integrated Urban Development Master Plan (Niuplan) was centred around the creation of more than a dozen commercial centres to create multiple economic arteries in the city. 
  • The list of locations earmarked for the developments includes Runda, Ruaraka, Ruiru, Ruai, Karen and Lang’ata.
  • The master plan says its success is hinged on the willingness of several government agencies to release their huge land holdings for development.

The Nairobi government Tuesday launched a new development plan for the city that is hinged on construction of new road and rail networks to disperse activity away from the central business district (CBD).

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Governor Evans Kidero said the Nairobi Integrated Urban Development Master Plan (Niuplan) proposes more than a dozen commercial centres to create multiple economic arteries in the city. The list of locations earmarked for the developments includes Runda, Ruaraka, Ruiru, Ruai, Karen and Lang’ata.

Uthiru and Kabete have been earmarked for development as office and commercial centres while Doonholm and Airport North will be reserved for industrial and commercial while Kasarani will be developed into a residential, commercial and entertainment enclave.

Dr Kidero said the centres would be served by major transport corridors that are linked to the Thika highway, Mombasa Road and newly built by-passes in the city.

A network of metro railway lines will also interconnect the centres and the CBD to ease congestion.

“Location of sub-centres envisaged in the land use plan is connected to stations of commuter rail line,” the master plan says, adding that to induce the creation of sub-centres, development of a commuter rail line must be prioritised.

The master plan, which was officially launched Tuesday, says its success is hinged on the willingness of several government agencies to release their huge land holdings for development.

Kenya Power tops the list of agencies with huge tracts of land in the city in places like Dandora where it has a generous way leave that can be used to develop a road or railway line if power cables are taken underground. Others are stadium land near Kasarani and railway land across the city.

The Nairobi development blueprint proposes to alter the land use zoning and plot ratios in areas earmarked for development to allow for mixed use and denser settlement.

It remains to be seen whether residents of exclusive suburbs such as Karen and Runda will accept changes that are likely introduce commercial and high rise structures in their neighbourhoods.

City Hall said the proposed changes are also meant to enable the city to accommodate more people beyond the five million limit possible under the current ratios and zoning.

The document warns that a rapid roll-out of the plan is necessary to effectively manage the current population growth rates. Even in a best case scenario of suppressed growth, Nairobi will have 5.2 million people by 2030.

“This means that if Nairobi County needs to accommodate more than five million population, the existing regulation in Development Ordinance must be revised to change land use to convert some of the non-residential land to residential use and change plot ratio to higher value to promote higher population density,” says the report.

The master plan proposes a Mass Rapid Transit System along the city’s major roads to ease transport.

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