Proper use of green parks, roads and footpaths is part of improving Kampala
Posted Wednesday, February 27 2013 at 02:00
It is with much satisfaction that one reads the proposed plan for Kampala which was published in the media in December 2012. I believe the short and long-term planning will require:
• Mobilisation of considerable funds.
• Appropriation of various lands and properties.
• Displacements of some existing structures.
• Supervision and construction of planned infrastructure ensuring value for money, timely execution and high standard of finished products. I look forward to the implementation of the proposed development plan. However, here are some simple but practical suggestions that will help improve the quality of life of the residents in Kampala.
Green areas should be accessible to the public. Take for instance Kololo Airstrip. This is a wonderful area that with little expenditure, can be turned into a park for walkers, joggers, and children’s playground. It could also include a small area for metered parking for the public. These activities will not harm its designated official uses.
The Presidential Helipad with the President’s consent could and should be moved to the gardens of the President’s Lodge in Nakasero. This will ensure better security and convenience for the President and eliminate the inconvenience to the public due to sudden road closures and redirected traffic.
Jubilee (Mehta) Park is in the city centre and should be a fully accessible leisure park for city dwellers. The Police Band used to play at this park on weekends. I can see some efforts being made to reclaim it. This is a good move that should be quickened. Let us have our park and gardens back.
I see efforts being made to restore Kitante / Jinja Road Park as an open area. Hopefully, this venture will be successful.
Footpaths particularly in residential areas are blocked to pedestrians at various places in various ways. Planting of restrictive hedges, installing barbed wire on short poles, putting up concrete barriers, creating parking spaces, erecting signs, etc are becoming common. Where are the school children and pedestrians supposed to pass? Pedestrians are forced to fight for space with vehicles. The city has by-laws on its statute that will force property owners to remove all obstacles and make the footpaths fit for pedestrian use.
A number of public roads, particularly in Nakasero, have been closed to the vehicular traffic for several years. These should be re-opened. Surely, our security forces can devise a security system that will cause minimum inconvenience to the general public. Closing off roads on the slightest pretext is not appropriate. Permanent closure is not in the interest of the public and causes traffic jam on other roads.
If the above areas of concern, which require minimal expenditure to be implemented are taken seriously, Kampala will be greatly enhanced.