Implementation of car-free zone policy starts

City of Kigali officials met with business operators, yesterday, to address various fears expressed over the car-free zone policy in parts of Central Business District, whose implementation takes effect today.
Pedestrians walk through the car-free zone at KN 4 Avenue in the Central Business District Kigali. (Timothy Kisambira)
Pedestrians walk through the car-free zone at KN 4 Avenue in the Central Business District Kigali. (Timothy Kisambira)

City of Kigali officials met with business operators, yesterday, to address various fears expressed over the car-free zone policy in parts of Central Business District, whose implementation takes effect today.

Most of the business operators who attended the meeting at City Hall in Kigali operate around the affected area – KN 4 Ave (Centenary House – Ecole Belge junction).

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Traffic Police officer shows motorists the new routing in the CBD. (Timothy Kisambira)

The meeting was called to reassure them that their businesses won’t be affected by this new development.
Speaking at a press briefing after the meeting, the Mayor of Kigali, Fidèle Ndayisaba, said this was the first meeting in a series that are planned.

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Business owners along the KN4 road and the press during a meeting with City of Kigali officials at the city hall conference hall yesterday.

“This meeting was convened to address concerns raised by business people who operate from the affected area. We wanted to show them the advantages of this development and how it won’t affect their businesses,” he said.

Business operators had raised concerns, among them, how delivery trucks will access shops along the street; but the mayor said there were time-frames that are set aside for delivery trucks to access the area.

“Delivery trucks will access the area between 10:00pm and 5:00am. During that time trucks can deliver goods to those shops. We have also asked them to find warehouses outside the car-free zone in case they need to access the warehouse during the day,” he said.

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City of Kigali Mayor Fidèle Ndayisaba speaks at the news conference yesterday.  With him is Commissioner of Traffic and Road Safety George Rumanzi.

The mayor also assured the business operators their safety and that of their merchandise, saying they involved security agencies in the new move to guarantee people’s safety.

“People shouldn’t worry about security around the area. Security agencies are aware of this and they will be on hand to help,” he added.

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There were few people in the morning after the City of Kigali started implementing the directive making part of the CBD, a car-free zone. (Timothy Kisambira)

CP George Rumanzi, the commissioner for Traffic and Road Safety, said they worked with CoK on this concept and they were ready to facilitate the transition.

“Traffic police officers will be around the car-free zone to direct people who may forget the directive and try to access this area with cars. We shall also be directing people because some roads have been changed into one-way lanes. Already, there are people putting sign posts around the area that will ease the transition,” he said.

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Robert Bampfakurera a business owner along KN4 road speaks to press yesterday after a meeting with City of Kigali officials. (All photos by Doreen Umutesi)

After the meeting, the business operators said they were prepared to cope with the changes.

“Sometimes, CoK makes changes and we are not informed but we adapt. However, this time round we are prepared because we were informed in advance and we can see that it’s for the good of the city and the country,” said Robert Bapfakurera, a businessman.

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The car-free zone and green transport policy is part of CoK’s master plan and will continue to cover other parts of the central business district, officials said.

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The new directive came into effect on Monday. (Timothy Kisambira)

According to CoK, the next phase will affect KN 2 ST (Kigali City Market to City Plaza) followed by KN 57 ST (Kipharm St) and KN 71 ST (CBD Mosque St).

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