THE Zambia Roads & Highway Safety Group (ZRHSG) welcomes efforts by the UPND Government as announced by the Local Government Minister Mr. Garry Nkombo, to decongest the Lusaka Central Business District
According to plans, Government intends to build two new bus stations; one behind Levy Mall and another on Kafue Road.
However, the Zambia Roads & Highway Safety Group feels this measure will in the short term decongest the CBD by transferring buses from Freedom Way and Lumumba Road into these news stations but in the long run might create new bottle necks around these two areas.
The Highway Safety Group therefore proposes that to help decongest traffic in Lusaka CBD area, the Lusaka City Council (LCC) relocates all bus stations, namely Kulima Tower, Millenium and Town Centre away from the busy Lusaka central business district (CBD) to the periphery of the city.
This can be done by creating new bus routes around the Lusaka CBD area on Ben Bella Road, Lumumba Rd and Kalambo Road for passengers going into the CBD area.
This also means that no buses will be found in the CBD area and only taxis can transport passengers from South end to North end via Cairo Rd, Freedom Way and Chachacha Roads into the CBD area while buses can only go around the CBD using Ben Bella, Lumumba and Kalambo Roads for those wishing to traverse the CBD from one end to the other.
Currently the existing bus stations in Lusaka namely Kulima Tower, Millenium, Town Centre, City Market and Lumumba attract buses from all four corners of Lusaka. This means a bus from Avondale has to crisscross the CBD to get to City Market Bus Station while another has to move from Chilenje and crisscross to get to Millenium or Lumumba Stations. The same happens to hundreds of minibuses around Lusaka that have to fight their way through traffic just to end up at these bus stations.
The Zambia Roads and Highway Safety Group also proposes that bus STATIONS (those that allow empty buses to stop and wait for passengers) be relocated away from the CBD into townships. Instead let new bus stops (those that allow buses to drop off passengers and pick those already at the station) be created to allow buses to move in a well-designed loop that allows them to only stop to drop and pick passengers in the CBD area and on these new routes on Ben Bella, Lumumba and Kalambo Road.
For example a bus from Chelstone should have a route that allows it to turn into Cairo Road and head back to Chelstone using Independence Avenue and passing through Longacres, Mtendere /Kalingalinga on its way to Chelstone. Similarly, a Bus from Matero when reaching the CBD can turn left into Great East Rd and back to Matero through Northmead and Garden Town ship without parking in the CBD.
A bus from Garden House when reaching CBD can turn right into Lumumba and exit through Los Angeles/Kalusha Bwalya Road passing through Kanyama on its way back to Garden House.
These new changes will result in buses not parking on Freedom Way, Chachacha or Lumumba Roads blocking traffic and creating bottle necks.
These changes will also make it possible for a passenger to move from one township to another without having to pass through the CBD or connect through town by jumping into many buses.
These changes will also result in more areas of Lusaka being serviced by public transport similar to how big cities like London, New York or Amsterdam are currently being serviced.
The Zambia Roads and Highway Safety Group is confident that once these changes are made, bus owners will create new parking areas for their buses during off peak hours thereby by taking off the roads buses that create unnecessary congestions in the city roads and at town centre.
The Zambia Roads & Highway Safety Group stands ready to help Lusaka City Council together with the bus owners to make this a win-win situation for the traveling public within Lusaka and help decongest the CDB and allow for the smooth flow of traffic and passengers.