- Frustrated by misuse of sidewalks
The Addis Ababa City Roads Authority (AACRA), has injected a sum of 125 million birr to brighten up Addis Ababa’s streets by replacing the existing street lights with what is said to be a new energy efficient lamps, LED technology (light-emitting diode), The Reporter has learnt.
Along with the installation of the new technology, the authority has further undertaken the maintenance and fitting of the existing non-functioning street lights.
Currently, the authority administers over 26,000 street lights erected along the major streets of Addis Ababa. However, in many parts of the city, most of these street lights are either partially or fully non-functional. This has been causing public complaints that mainly centered around deadly traffic accidents and crimes.
As part of its responsibility— providing a safer environment at night to commuters and pedestrian— the authority revealed that, it has already allocated 100 million birr for the new technology to be installed in several locations of the City. It further indicated that, public tender is expected to be issued soon for interested bidders to light up the major roads with a more power efficient and durable bulbs that use solar energy.
Meanwhile, with the remaining 25 million birr, the authority took its own initiative to maintain and reinforce street lights that have previously been installed.
In addition to the replacement and maintenance of older street lights, new lights are planned to be installed across some 17 roads which have been built over the past years. I was also told that, these roads have been waiting to access the power grid even though it has been put in place by Ethio- Electric Service since they went operational.
The new technology is said to have a brighter light with longer durability time, up to 10 years, while the older ones serve for three and a half years. Similarly, the LED technology is much more efficient, by which it cuts the 250-watt outage of the old lamps by half, consuming only 120-Watt.
In a related development, the Authority has complained that most of the private investors who are building modern complexes and high rises continue affecting sidewalks even after they have been repeatedly given warnings and even punished. In addition to private builders, the Authority told The Reporter that there are also a few government institutions that block sidewalks by stocking constructions materials, resulting in the disruption of traffic flow forcing civilians to walk alongside vehicles.
“We have repeatedly informed them that they should remove their construction materials from the sidewalks. We also gave them a serious warning. Going even further, we have also confiscated their belongings while some were fined with financial penalty,” Eyob Bekele, communications officer at the Authority, told The Reporter.
He went on to say that, most of them have kept on storing their materials on sidewalks even after the confiscation and fine.
According to Eyob, around 17 individual developers and institutions have been fined a sum of 5.03 million birr for causing damages on public road.
“Surprisingly, a day after we confiscated their properties, mainly reinforcement bars that take wider space extending to the vehicles’ path, we still found them laying the same materials in the same place,” he said.
Illegal use of sidewalks by construction companies is not new in Addis and it has been a source of public woe despite the existence of regulations and laws. In some places, some even erect fences on the edge of the asphalt road crossing the pedestrian lane.
Experts argue that, the challenges of poor law enforcement and the continual sky rocketing of a lease price in the city, keeps prompting developers (builders) to exhaustively utilize their construction plot in order to erect their buildings in the given piece of space, which is closer to the main road.
So, when they face shortage of space to store their construction materials they tend to use the next best solution, the sidewalk. Hence, they urge the government to take serious actions to address the long-standing challenges the city has been facing for a while and safeguard the lives of pedestrian from the ever-growing traffic accident.
However, weak law enforcement, ignorance from the city administration and violation of law are the major tributaries for road accidents and remain the major killer across the nation.