Zanzibar has in the past few years experienced a fast pace of growing number of vehicles, perhaps more than three times than the rate of increase of its population growth.
Every day the vehicle traffic and congestion on roads are increasing in exponential form. To get a space for parking a car in almost each corner of the old Stone Town and many areas of the Zanzibar Municipality has become a big problem.
These traffic problems cause a lot of frustration among the road users and there is disturbance due to parking of vehicles on road users. This also increases the operating costs of vehicles and pollution.
In this digital era, everybody is in a hurry. Time is valuable, and everyone is trying to make the most of it because saving a few minutes to move from one place to another means travelling faster.
With the rapid growth of the economy, owning a car is now not a big deal in the Islands as it used to be in the past, but finding a parking spot has become a treasure hunt. Everybody wants to drive a car, and it is this mind-set that has caused the parking space crisis. So, what is the solution to the space crisis?
With more vehicles hitting the roads in Zanzibar, there are many challenges in front of us, but two of them, traffic congestion and lack of parking space, are very serious and need quick response to look for a solution.
Imagine you are caught in a road congestion while rushing one who has been badly injured in a fatal road accident or a woman in a family way who has suddenly experienced delivery complications.
These are just two examples of how road congestion and lack of parking space are causing inconveniences and pose to the loss of lives of many people.
Traffic congestion is a problem, which we are well aware of, as the situation is getting worse every day. In Zanzibar, only the vehicles have increased but the parking spaces have remained the same.
Now, the rising demand for parking space has turned out to be a problem because even some open spaces in the Stone Town and other areas have been blocked by the City Council.
Parking is an integral component of the transport system. It plays a crucial role in the management of traffic and congestion
Most of the roads in the Zanzibar City and towns are narrow and lack pedestrian lanes. There are cases of double parking along these narrow roads thereby causing traffic congestion. This is due to the non-availability of off-street parking facilities.
I doubt if there has been any study which has investigated the seriousness of traffic congestion in some of the roads and how the demands of searching for parking affect driving performance, physiology, and visual attention allocation as well as its effects on the drivers and their possible influence on the safety of the environment.
I think it is high time that we investigate the effects of the above mentioned problems and see how best to solve the problems.
The authorities responsible for planning the cities should look into this matter and find some way to smartly solve the parking space problem.
Authorities need to set up new policies to tackle the problem. I know that it is not that easy to get a quick solution, but I am sure with good planning and reducing unnecessary car parking restrictions in some places can help reduce the problems.
Whatever the challenges something has to be done to put an end to these driving and parking woes. The earlier we start looking for solutions the better for us and the visitors we welcome in our drive to promote investors in different sectors, especially the development of the blue economy.