RE: “Kigali's green transport policy good for everyone” (The New Times, August 21).
I have no problems with designating certain areas within the centre of the City of Kigali as exclusive pedestrian zones. But this needs careful study to ensure it is done better than the introduction of a public transport system that ended up becoming just a giveaway to a few oligarchs while city commuters suffered from terrible service.
Appropriate, properly designed, easily identifiable (especially for non-Kigali drivers) and secure parking (many Kigali drivers have lost side mirrors and other parts to thieves when they park in non-secure zones) must be integrated into the planning. Some parking places, for instance at Kigali City Tower, are not fit for that purpose.
I have been driving since 1976, and have driven myself in various places, some very difficult, all over the world, but I avoid the KCT parking whenever I can. Access to hotels, businesses, public offices…must also be facilitated.
If the City authorities want their constituents to accept this decision, they better begin by properly thinking through the kinds of inconveniences its implementation will cause to various stakeholders and then try to put in place measures to mitigate those inconveniences as much as possible.
Eventually people will get used to the newly restricted pedestrian zone and it will become a normal thing. But the city authorities should not impose restrictions (which are always seen as 'taking away a right' of someone) without accompanying measures to alleviate foreseeable inconveniences, at least in the immediate aftermath.