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Transport Master Plan launched

The City of Windhoek in conjunction with the Ministry of Works and Transport and GIZ, has officially launched the Sustainable Urban Transport Master Plan for the City of  Windhoek including traffic from Rehoboth, Okahandja and Hosea Kutako International Airport. The Master Plan analyses local conditions as well as various sustainable urban transport options to pave the way for an affordable, accessible, attractive and efficient public transport and non-motorised transport system for the next 20 years. Speaking at the launch, Minister of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development, Maj Gen(rtd) Charles Namoloh said the Sustainable Transport Master Plan should not be done in isolation and that there should be a Transport Master Plan for the whole country adding that there should be an integrated Master Plan so that people do not walk freely in Windhoek but in other towns, traffic is congested. Cities and towns should be built to be appropriate for future transport needs. “Today, we can say that Independence Avenue is a big street, but after 10 or 15 years it will be congested. It has already started. Now we are restricting taxis from entering a part of that street because there is no space. It does not help us if the documentation is beautifully summarised, we want to see implementation,” he said. The Deputy Mayor of the City of Windhoek, Muezee Kazapua said the transport sector plays a big role in the economy of the country as well as the lives of its people. The GDP or economic progress as well as the welfare of the citizen suffer severely without a functioning transport system. “As individuals we expect that access to different modes of urban transport makes our daily travel from residence to place of work easier. Therefore, you will agree with me that an efficient and affordable public transport system is a pre-condition for poverty reduction and integration of disadvantaged low income families; especially at the time when the City is faced with rapid urbanization, coupled with an explosion in informal settlements,” he said. Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany, HE Onno Hückmann said Namibia and Germany share a long history with regard to the transport sector. Germany has provided N$1,2 billion for the support of transport-related projects which led to the construction of approximately 1000km of roads and the sustainable and efficient management of the road network. He said that this project is not about public transport, but it is about people, jobs, poverty reduction, the quality of life and the quality of the environment. “In a time of tough fiscal choices, it is a wise investment in the future. Sustainable public transport is an investment in a better quality of life and affordable mobility. I am glad that we don’t stand in one of the large hotels in Windhoek’s south but in a community centre in Katutura. I believe it is a wise decision to present ideas in the midst of people most affected by them,” he said. Also speaking at the launch, Hon Erikki Nghimtina, Minister of Works and Transport asked “Is our urban transport system geared to meet the challenges of the future? Transportation problems are not new to mankind and in urban areas transportation has always been a problem due to the large concentration of people – Windhoek is no exception.”
He said, like many other cities in the world, Windhoek is growing rapidly and it is expected that the population in the City will double in the next 20 years.
“Where will all these people get water, housing and where will they work and finally how will they be able to reach their places of work, hospitals, schools or other social facilities? How can our current transport system cope with an increased transport demand in the future? If we are not able to answer these questions properly today, then we are disappointing the future generations who will be most affected by transportation challenges,” he said. The Sustainable Urban Transport Master Plan was started and developed in 2012 and is now known as “Move Windhoek.” The minister said the Master Plan is designed as a primary reference source for guidance to accommodate ideas and replicate further transportation systems and expansions in other urban areas of the country. Windhoek being the key centre of business, is only a gateway to develop a standardised transport plan that can be replicated in other fast-growing centres of development.

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