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Nairobi CBD's 100 parking slots for the disabled not enough
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|Nairobi CBD's 100 parking slots for the disabled not enough by Kenyans247(1): Mon 09, November, 2020 03:49pm|
Patrick Mwau works in the Nairobi CBD and every day he struggles to get a parking slot, more so one that is closer to his workplace.
You see, Mr Mwau is disabled and every inch away from his workplace matters.
Parking slots around Nairobi's Central Business District are always filled to capacity on most days.
The people who find it even harder to find a parking slot are persons with disabilities (PWDs), mostly those who have mobility difficulties.
“If I do not get to town by 7.30, that day I will struggle to get a parking slot. I work near Electricity House but most of the time I have to park on Koinange Street then walk to the office,” Mwau says.
He has to make rounds within the CBD to look for an ideal slot. “I also waste like 30 minutes every morning as I look for parking space around town,” he adds.
There are 100 parking slots meant for PWDs within the CBD, according to Nairobi County Parking Director Tom Tinega.
“We have labelled all the slots with the clear disabled parking signage and the 100 slots have evenly been distributed within the CBD,” Mr Tinega adds.
And therein lies the problem. With the recommended ratio of 1:20 and Nairobi having 14,864 parking slots, simple math shows that there should be 743 disabled car parking slots in the CBD.
There are two parking slots for the disabled along Koinange Street, Kenyatta Avenue, Kimathi Street, Mama Ngina Street, Wabera Street, City Hall Way and Loita Street.
Fake disability signs
But even the few that are available are often snapped up by able-bodied motorists, who con the city inspectorate officers by placing fake disability signs on the dashboard.
On one day alone last week, a spot check on the above streets revealed that five out of the 14 vehicles parked in the spots did not have disabled stickers.
According to Mr Tinega, there is currently no law to punish individuals who park at the slots designated for PWDs.
So the county uses the route of towing the vehicles and charging Sh10,000 towing charges on the owners as punishment.
“We do random checks within the CBD and if we get a vehicle without the disabled sticker parked at the disabled parking slot, we clamp and tow it, and they (owners) will cater for all the expenses, amounting to almost Sh 10,000.” Mr Tinega said.
Mr Francis Anyenda, the Public Relations Officer at the National Council for Persons with Disabilities (NCPWD), said that every year the council issues 2,000 disabled vehicle stickers across the country.
Mr Anyenda further said that the current 100 parking slots within the CBD are inadequate, going by international guidelines.
“According to international law, you must provide a minimum of at least one disabled car parking space per 20 parking spaces. If you have less than 20 parking spaces, you must provide 1 disabled parking space,” he said.
As of 2018, according to data from Nairobi County government, there were 14, 864 parking slots in the CBD, of which 3,941 are on-street parking, representing 26.5 percent of the total. Off-street parking slots are 3, 834 while 7,089 are building parking.
Accessible parking spaces for the people living with disabilities are supposed to be located as close as possible to the main pedestrian entrance of the building they are designed to service.
Wider than normal
Also, these parking slots ought to be wider than normal parking spaces. This is because people with mobility disability need extra space to safely enter and exit a vehicle, especially if they are using a wheelchair.
It is also recommended that all such parking slots have signage and clearly show that they are reserved for PWDs only.
According to Nairobi City County Persons with Disabilities Act of 2015, persons with disabilities are entitled to a barrier-free and disability-friendly environment to enable them to have access to buildings, roads and other social amenities, and assistive and other equipment to promote their mobility.
In Kenya, the rights of the disabled are enshrined in three main laws: the 2010 constitution, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities adopted by the United Nations in 2006 and ratified by Kenya in 2008 and the Persons with Disabilities Act of 2003, which is a legal framework for access to services and inclusion.
However, such laws and policies are largely inconsistent and not executed.
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