It is sure to be a very small beginning that will likely make negligible difference, if at all. But there is nothing surprising about it, given that it is after all only a municipal-level committee thinking aloud.
We are referring to recent media reports that the construction committee of the Ilala Municipal Council in Dar es Salaam is so troubled with road traffic congestion in the city that it is planning to come up with ideas it believes will vastly improve navigability in the country’s chocked commercial capital.
As long acknowledged, the problem has until now defied all measures to ease it to any substantial extent. For decades, government authorities have scratched their heads in search of a lasting solution to the mess – but to little avail.
Even technological wizardry and funding from advanced countries including mighty Japan, China and Italy – supported by expert intervention from big-name road engineering and construction companies such as Kajima and Konoike – has not done much to improve the situation to a satisfactory level.
So, just how does a poor municipal committee expect to succeed where the combined expertise of a whole line-up of colossuses has all but failed to deliver to satisfaction?
But perhaps we ought to give the team the benefit of doubt in the hope it can work one more wonder that will enable Dar es Salaam to breathe a little more comfortably, what with all its roads, streets and pathways having been generally modernised.
Yes, the city is already witnessing relatively aggressive road expansion, rehabilitation and other forms of well-intentioned construction.
Yes, the long-touted rapid city bus project is witnessing some form of implementation, if what is going on along the usually bustling Morogoro Road is anything to go by.
There is however a lot more to urban transport than merely having world-class roads – general compliance with and respect for traffic regulations, for instance. Who will do the well-nigh impossible by ensuring that the city’s residents in their millions do so on their own free will, that is without being forced into it through intervention by police, municipal militias, law courts (through sentences meant to serve as deterrents but in fact falling awfully short of target), etc., etc.?
Traffic snarl-ups are a worldwide headache globally reckoned to be worsening with each passing day, and even the likes of the Intelligent Transportation Society of America and its partners are still sort of groping in the dark in search of workable solutions.
But even with our relative lack of technological wizardry, we too could come up with interventions able to ease the problem. In this regard, we have in mind such plans as Transport minister Dr Harrison Mwakyembe is fronting with respect to the revival of what once was an important railway link between Ubungo Maziwa and the central railway station just next to Dar es Salaam Port.
These are ideas calling for support from both the government and the public because their eventual translation into viable projects stands to benefit us all. And this applies to plans by the Ilala Municipal committee as well. Why not give them a try and see what happens?