COVID Challenge Mombasa, Kenya

POP-UP Pedestrianization

In addition to responding to the COVID 19 pandemic, the project supports the piloting and acceptance of active mobility and thus the development of sustainable and inclusive cities.

In short

Pop-up pedestrianization by creating a car free zone

Technical designs of traffic flow with gates

Awareness raising and event to culminate the project

Installation of hygiene stations

The challenge

TUMI is working with ITDP, UN Habitat and the County Government of Mombasa (CGM) to upgrade Biashara Street, located in Mombasa’s Old Town to a safe, organised, well-managed, and people friendly street for all.

Biashara street, like many streets in Old Town, some of which date back to the 16th century, is a narrow street, bustling with vending activities. Pedestrians buy from the vendors who have put out their wares as they pass by.

Movement along the street has been difficult especially during the COVID-19 period due to lack of clear space allocation for pedestrians and vendors.

The street upgrade will focus on:

Improving the walking experience by reallocating a clear right of way for pedestrians along the street

Public space improvement: providing storm water drainage, paving the street, and providing shade since it can get very hot and humid on the island.

Improving commerce by customising the vendor stalls based on the diverse needs of the vendors while maintaining clearly allocated spaces for vending.

Enhancing the economic potential of the corridor through the provision of lighting, facilitation of garbage collection thereby also improving tourism in the old town area.

Project Area

The study area consists of Biashara St (-4.0572483576721625, 39.67396169003667), from Abdel Nasser Road to Nehru Rd, a length of approximately 300 m.

The pilot

TUMI plans to reroute the traffic and close the road for cars. This barrier will be opened and closed daily (in the afternoons) to allow morning and day traffic to flow thru, and afternoon and evenings to be given to pedestrians.

The city of Mombasa is an important partner for the implementation of the pilot.


Proposed street design with vending areas (grey) and clear space for walking (red)

Intended impact

By providing a car-free zone, it will allow the citizens of Mombasa safely enjoy the street food at a safe distance. This space increase will also provide vendors with increased opportunities to have a safe and vibrant space to sell more food and create inclusive streets.

500m of pedestrianized streets enable outdoor eating on Makadara Road, facilitate physical distancing and improve access.

Create an inclusive and conducive area where pedestrians and vendors can interact safely. The end result would be Pop-up pedestrianization.

The success of this project is expected to improve economic activity by increasing the flow of pedestrians and transforming Biashara street into a 24hr shopping space.

The initiative also serves as a pilot project as the city plans to pedestrianize old town, and transform it into an inclusive, conducive, and commercially vibrant space, improving livelihoods for the residents.

The project also serves a case study showing the benefits of car free streets which lead to reduced congestion and improved business activity.

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