Do you think the purpose of the Car-Free Zone was achieved?

In 2015, the first car-free zone in Kigali was introduced in the Central Business District (CBD) along KN 4 Avenue in a bid to decongest the area, expedite amenities and ease the process of creating green transport areas within the city.

Many people have varying opinions with some arguing that the area hasn’t lived up to expectations. Sharon Kantengwa asked different people whether the purpose of the Car-Free Zone was achieved?

It has served as a base for events which is good and it has encouraged creativity. Recently there was a European Street Fair which I was part of, as well other promotional events from corporate companies. The biggest problem is that there is no clear way of accessing it for events; I don’t think many people know how to seek permission. I have also seen people, young ones especially walk freely and play.

It’s a really unique thing, if you tell visitors that we have a care free zone, they will be interested in checking it out. The other challenge is that I have not yet learned how to fully utilize it because I think there is more to just talking walks. Also, the noise pollution could be a hindrance because the nature of its location is challenging to stage an event without causing noise pollution.

Arthur Nkusi, comedian and radio personality


I think that its purpose has fully been achieved because people are able to stage concerts and promotional shows which gives a platform for upcoming artistes to showcase their talents and skills.

Young Grace, artiste


I think it is a wok in progress and in a state where it’s trying to fit in a new environment, where people are still learning how to come out. It was not our culture to eat while on the road or dress a certain way when moving on the streets.

We already have our cultural norms that people are trying to be part of, but at the same time make the place active. We are trying to adjust and I think organisers are doing good job with events. Three years is too early to judge, given the new environment and the new culture that we are expected to adopt. Maybe people have seen how car free streets are used in Japan or Europe and there is a lot they expect to see but there is a lot more that yields to that.

Hope Azeda, founder Mashirika Performing Arts


Its purpose was to be a place where people can sit, relax, and meet without distraction from the noise but I don’t think you can find all of that quite often as it should, although its other purpose of providing space for entertainment events has fairly been achieved. Otherwise, the car free zone is mostly used by the young people for accessing Wi-Fi internet.

Paul Mugisha, visual artist


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