By Innocent Ruwende
Harare City Council is set to recruit a chief traffic transportation planner to deal with the chaos obtaining in the Central Business District and other parts of the city where congestion is now the order of the day at intersections, especially during peak hours.
The problem has been largely attributed to many malfunctioning traffic lights that have gone for months without being repaired and pirate taxis, commuter omnibuses and vendors that have congested streets.
The obtaining situation will hamper Harare from achieving its ambition of becoming a world class city by 2025 if nothing is done soon.
According to the City of Harare, a world class city is one that has eight or more attributes of a modern city.
City corporate communications manager Mr Michael Chideme said the city was strengthening its systems to improve service delivery.
“We are strengthening our systems,” he said.
“This sector has been our Achilles’ heel for some time. We want to make our roads trafficable and have proper transportation planning gurus to achieve a world class city.”
The chief traffic and transportation planner will be under the City Planning Division of the Department of Works and responsible for the overall provision of leadership in the formulation and implementation of policies applicable to traffic and transportation systems in the City of Harare.
She or he will also advise on proposals for medium and long-term development of the city’s traffic and transportation systems, manage city roads trafficability, implements statutory duties in terms of Road Traffic Act and municipal by-laws and produce traffic and transportation master and local plans.
The chief traffic transportation will also manage billboard advertising amid reports that the city could be losing thousands of dollars in that area.
Last year, an audit of bill boards in greater Harare showed that poor management of billboard records by the city was costing it thousands of dollars as some companies were erecting billboards for free.
Apart from 1 103 registered billboards, there were an extra 300 billboards on private properties that were excluded from the city’s billing platform.
The city is raking in $3,6 million annually in advertising revenue from seven companies it signed deals with, but could be losing thousands from those illegally erecting billboards.