Monday, 28 January 2019

Sanwo-Olu, Agbaje, Gbadamosi Speak On Lagos Traffic Menace

Three leading governorship candidates in Lagos State have vowed to tackle gridlock in the state if elected as governor at the March 2 gubernatorial election. The candidates, Babajide Sanwo-Olu (All Progressives Congress, APC), Jimi Agbaje (Peoples Democratic Party, PDP) and Babatunde Gbadamosi (Action Democratic Party, ADP), respectively made the promise at the recent governorship debate.

The trio, who acknowledged that traffic situation in Lagos is harrowing at the moment, assured that they will ameliorate the plight of residents with innovative ideas. Sanwo-Olu, who said he would tackle the problem frontally, said: “Out of the 62 traffic gridlocks that we have identified, some are lowhanging that we can resolve within the first 60 days. Some are short, medium and longterm. So, the first 60 days are to solve the ones that are low hanging, which are about 20. “Within the first 100 days, I will tackle the Apapa gridlock. I will need to clear up the traffic and all the trailers at Apapa. I’ll make sure it’s a nightmare we will not see again.” On how he intends to achieve this, the APC candidate disclosed plans to engage the private sector with a productive discourse in which stakeholders will set an agenda for the next four years.

The APC candidate added that he would convene a town hall meeting to inform the public sector about new ways of engagement to develop the state. Sanwo-Olu further revealed that his government would adopt rail transport to decongest traffic around the Apapa axis. His words: “For the rail, it is work in progress.

There is a blue line that is coming up and a red line, which is in conjunction with the Federal Government and has finally been agreed on. I’m expecting that within the next two years, we will have rail tracks on the blue line, which is from Okokomaiko to Marina and covers 28 kilometres. We will have another red line from Ebute Metta to Agege, which is between 36 and 37 kilometres.” On water transportation, the APC flag bearer said: “We’ve got five terminal jetties that we have built now.

We can do two more and bring about higher capacity ferries, not the type that we have now that are only doing 20 passengers. We can get ferries that can do 50 to 100 passengers at a time. “The third mode is the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, which has increased capacity. We will see if we can establish a plant, where those kinds of articulated buses will be produced here. So, by the time you combine the three: the roads, waterways and the rails working well, we will solve the problem,” he said.

On his part, Agbaje said traffic congestion could be eased by employing radar technology and proper town planning. “We must address traffic in terms of the immediate, like fixing potholes, traffic lights and we must bring technology to traffic management. We will get Lagos State Transport Management Authority (LASTMA) to work efficiently,” he said.

The PDP candidate added that the different parts of Lagos must be looked into as to make them self-containing. According to him, “The idea is to have even development across Lagos State, so that we will have less movement from one end of Lagos to the other.” Ranking the gridlock in order of importance, Agbaje said: “You need to get the local governments working again because if you want to address the issue of potholes, you need to get in touch with the local governments because they are the ones that know where the potholes are. “But going to mid and long term, the way it works is that you have to work ahead. I will give a good example, we have a refinery coming up on the Lekki axis of the state and there is no provision yet to what is going to happen to lift products from there. So, if we are not careful, we are going to have another gridlock there as we have in Apapa.

“It is also important that we know that urban and town planning also have an effect. The idea is to have even development across Lagos State, so that you are having less of movement from one end of Lagos to the other.” The PDP candidate also highlighted the need for multi-layer roads and rail system in the state, saying: “Lagos is still one of the two mega cities in this world that does not have a rail system that is working.

That is no longer acceptable, we must get that going. We must also embrace the idea of multilayer roads because there is little you can do to expand our roads.” Gbadamosi, who bemoaned the traffic situation in the state, said it could be solved by focusing on three things – rail transport, use of barges and devolution of powers.

He said: “We are spending too many man-hours in traffic, an average of six hours in traffic is what every Lagosian spends going from home to work and work to home. That has to stop. We are going to introduce high volume and high-speed passenger ferries that will have roll-on roll-off facilities across the state. “There are a number of ways to tackle this problem.

The most obvious one is rail. Second, barges to lift containers from the actual wharfs and take them to lighter terminals all around Lagos, and, third, devolution of powers. It is time we started this discussion about devolution of powers.” Further explaining the approach he will adopt to tackle gridlock in the state, Gbadamosi said: “The first thing we are going to do is to copy the Ethiopians and build a heavy rail line the length of Lagos State; from Badagry all the way to Ode Omi, with branches going off to every exit point by road of Lagos. “The point with this is that all of those exit points must have container terminals. The trains will pass through Apapa and Ibafo and deposit their goods at those terminals, so that people coming from out of state, which is quite common, will not clog up the roads in Lagos with their trailers.”

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