LAMATA, others propose policy to ease congestion on Lagos roads
Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA), the Lagos Urban Network, and Heinrich Boll Stiftung Foundation, (Nigeria), are seeking stakeholders’ support for the proposed Non-motorised Transport system (NMT) in the state to reduce the number of man-hours and resources lost to traffic.
The system involves removing the private cars from the road and giving more space for walking and cycling, creating broader walkways and declaring pedestrian zones with regulated street vending activities.
Speaking at a seminar titled: “The Move to NMT” organised by Heinrich Boll Foundation in collaboration with Lagos Urban Network, the Head of Transport Safeguards Research and Development, LAMATA, Obafemi Shitta-Bey said the NMT policy is about prioritising the accessibility and the mobility of the people as opposed to the use of private vehicles.
He explained that LAMATA is trying to coordinate the new policy, which is still at a preliminary draft stage.
“LAMATA is basically interested in planning and managing rapid transit systems. The first plan is to put this policy in place to make sure this policy becomes a law; we are still at the preliminary stages. We have had three workshops that LAMATA projects awarded last year supported by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), what we called ‘share the road global programme’, motor vehicles are too selfish, they need to share the road with the pedestrians and cyclists and trying to get this draft policy finalised.
“All the key agencies contributed towards this draft policy by providing data, they also took part in the deliberation so we are going to gather in another month or two, and have a stakeholder’s conference where we deliberate on the issues again then come out with the final draft so that we can make it a law”. The problem is that we have too much of private transport, the only way that it can stop is when you provide public transport alternatives; rail mass transit.
The programme coordinator for inclusive Lagos mega city programme of Heinrich Boll Foundation, Monika Umunna, said the initiative for bikable Lagos, which started last year with a round-table on bikeable Lagos is to create a conducive environment, reduce Carbondioxide (CO2) emissions, give sense of worth to low income groups.
“We were very surprised by the huge interest from the poorer people, psychologists clubs, and a group of students who developed bikeable FESTAC plan. NMT policy is good for reducing pollution because you put emphasize on pedestrians. It is very encouraging to allow biking, biking is all over the world and it is also a sign of a modern city.
For the Africa Regional President, International Federation of Landscape Architects, Dr. Tunji Adejumo, the current possibility of bringing in NMT policy by Lagos state government is in line with the Paris agreement on climate change. However, he said there is the need to come up home grown standards in terms of bicycle infrastructure especially bicycles for arterial road, connector road, highway and the off road system.
“Everybody is talking about safety and so it is necessary for the LAMATA to bring in other ministries which include physical planning, works department, ministry of environment to sit down and deliberate on standard for the idea, the public has to be carry along; the market women, NURTW, Okada riders, Maruwa association, call in PHCN to ask them when are they going under, redefine the road. They must think through. Let us have Nigeria standard. It may not be in the next two years, maybe in next five years or in another seven years before we will now start”.
The CEO GoMyWay.com, Damilola Teidi stressed “there is no sense in everyone owning a car,we can share our cars with people to ease traffic and stop congestion in the state”. She however calls for the need to change the orientation of Nigerians toward car ownership.