UNEP recommendations to KURA on Improving Safety and Reducing Congestion on UN Avenue (7 October 2009; revised 23 November 2009)

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1 UNEP recommendations to KURA on Improving Safety and Reducing Congestion on UN Avenue (7 October 2009; revised 23 November 2009) UN Avenue extends for 2 km between Limuru Road and Ruaka Road (Runda Roundabout). Numerous accidents have occurred over the past months involving different types of road users motorists, pedestrians and cyclists. At least two accidents have been fatal for the pedestrian/cyclist involved and both were children. There is also the problem of heavy congestion which incurs high costs in terms of loss in productive time and emissions of air pollutants and greenhouse gases. In order to improve safety and reduce congestion on UN Avenue, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) presents the following recommendations to the Kenya Urban Roads Authority (KURA) for immediate implementation. 1. Widened lane for left-hand turns onto Limuru Road As a key decongestion measure, widening of the lane for left-hand turns onto Limuru Road is recommended (refer to Map and Picture 1 in the Annex). In addition, the station for personal service vehicles (PSVs or matatus) needs to be moved further away from the junction in order to prevent blocking of left-turning vehicles. An engineering feature that extends the curb from the junction and creates space for PSVs to pull into, away from the through traffic on Limuru Road is suggested (Picture 2). Strong enforcement is necessary. Furthermore, a raised pedestrian crosswalk (raised pedestrian crosswalk #1 on Map and Picture 3) is necessary across Limuru Road between the two PSVs stations. Because of the distance, a staggered design is recommended that uses the refuge island in the middle to channel pedestrians crossing from one side to the other (Picture 4). 2. Widened lane in front of Commissary Increased traffic into and out of the new Commissary is leading to serious problems of congestion and safety. UNON has intentions to move ahead, in close coordination with the Kenyan government, on the design and funding of immediate countermeasures. 3. Raised pedestrian crosswalks (traffic calming) As seen in Picture 3, by implementing raised pedestrian crosswalks two functions will be accomplished in one engineering countermeasure: pedestrian crossings and traffic calming. These will have to be clearly marked with reflectors and paint, especially for good visibility at night and during poor weather conditions. (A good example are the raised pedestrian crosswalks in front of Westgate Shopping Centre in Westlands.) 8 raised pedestrian crosswalks are recommended along UN Avenue please refer to the map and the exact locations detailed below. #2: At the section between the Kenol Station and Gigiri Shopping Centre #3: At Warwick Centre (see Picture 5) #4: At the UN Main Gate for pedestrians/visitors, between UN-Gigiri and the US Embassy #5: At the new UN Commissary, the top of the hill for visibility from both sides #6: Near Wispers Avenue, between the bus stop and the left-turn land onto Wispers Ave #7: Between Magnolia Close and Daisy Drive, before the barrier between Gigiri and Runda #8: Near Daisy Drive, towards the top of the hill for visibility from both sides #9: Near Ruaka Road, before the Runda Roundabout These locations have been selected on a site visit and also correspond with known accident sites (marked on Map). (a) Accident between a car and motorcycle: car coming out from China Gardens, motorcycle headed towards Runda; motorcyclist injured and taken to hospital (b) Accident between car and cyclist: car going to Runda, cyclist crossing the road; child cyclist killed on spot (c) At least 3 accidents where vehicles have rammed the barrier (d) Accident between car and tuk-tuk: no severe injuries, but car crashed in ditch (e) Accident between car and pedestrian: child killed on spot 1

2 (f) Accident between truck and car: truck coming towards Runda Roundabout, lost control and went over Roundabout and landed on top of a car; extent of injury is unknown 4. Pedestrian sidewalks/footpaths The separation of pedestrians and cyclists is recommended due to the fact that they travel at different speeds and the limited space available for pedestrian and cyclist facilities. A two-way pedestrian sidewalk is recommended on the east side of UN Avenue (marked in blue on Map). This allows pedestrians using public transport on Limuru Road to stay on the same side of the road. It should be continuous all along UN Avenue and be physically segregated from automobile traffic. Open drainage gutters on the sidewalk such as those seen in Pictures 6 and 7 (between Runda Roundabout and the UN Commissary) need to be covered in order to make the sidewalk accessible to wheelchairs. A drainage cover/slab can be placed. Open gutters on the road also need to be covered (Picture 8). A recent fatal accident occurred when a cyclist veered to avoid the open gutter. Proper maintenance of the sidewalks are necessary (Picture 9) and all sidewalks need to have ramps for wheelchair access (Picture 10). Unregulated parking on the sidewalk pushes pedestrians onto the road (Pictures 11 and 12). Enforcement of rules to keep cars off sidewalks is needed. 5. Cycling paths A two-way cycling path is recommended on the west side of UN Avenue (marked in orange on the Map). It should be continuous all along UN Avenue and segregated from automobile traffic. Providing cycling paths is crucial to reducing congestion. UN staff members have said in surveys that they do not cycle to work because of concerns of road safety. If safe cycling paths, i.e. twoway and physically segregated from automobile traffic, are provided a significant number of UN staff members living in Runda and Gigiri would shift from using their cars to their bikes. 6. Signage, road markings, enforcement of speed limits Proper signage is recommended on Limuru Road, in particular at the refuge islands and pedestrian crosswalk at the junction, and all along UN Avenue. In conjunction with clearly marked raised pedestrian crossings, which will act as traffic calming measures, speed limits need to be made known and enforced. Currently, there is only one sign at the barrier between Gigiri and Runda that informs drivers that the speed limit is 50 km/h. The actual speeds reached by motorists can reach 70~80 km/h, and even more along the two hills on UN Avenue. Also, road markings are necessary including solid yellow lines in the centre and stop lines at junctions. 2

3 Annex Picture 1 Limuru-UN Avenue junction Picture 2 Corner curb extension Picture 3 Raised pedestrian crosswalk (traffic calming) Picture 4 Staggered crosswalk with refuge island Picture 5 Warwick Centre, crosswalk #3 Picture 6 Open drainage gutter on sidewalk 3

4 Picture 7 Open drainage gutters on sidewalk Picture 8 Open gutters on road Picture 9 Maintenance needed on sidewalks Picture 10 Ramps needed on sidewalks Picture 11 Unregulated parking on sidewalk Picture 12 Pedestrian forced onto road 4

5 Map of UN Avenue UNEP/UNON Recommendations to KURA on Improving Safety and Reducing Congestion (7 October 2009; revised 23 November 2009) 5

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