Get with the times

Isabelle Franzen, Constantia

I wish to reply to Graham Heunis’s letter (“Council ‘negligence’”, Bulletin letters, December 22, 2016) regarding the dangerous situation caused by speeding in Dick Burton Street, and mayoral committee member for transport Brett Herron’s, response in which he indicated that there were a number of stop signs to slow traffic.

Citing the usual excuse of insufficient budget he indicated that emphasis would be given to securing the school in greater Cape Town, by putting in traffic lights and stop signs as traffic-calming measures.

However, the sad state of affairs is that the City is hugely behind the times. Too bad that our city officials do not travel throughout South Africa. Many provinces are way ahead of the Western Cape in traffic-calming.

Current thinking indicates that only raised intersections or traffic circles actually reduce speed noticeably.

Go to the Garden Route, on the N2, go to the Eastern Cape in little towns that are taking out traffic lights and putting in circles. Why? Because taxis, generally, and cars, sometimes, do not respect red traffic lights.

But, in Cape Town, there is obviously a love for traffic lights, in some intersections 17 of them. We even have three at intersections where only a left is possible. Imagine how much money could be saved with a yield sign.

Not long ago the ward councillor initiated a traffic-calming meeting for Ward 62. We were given a platitudinous presentation that admitted that traffic circles and roundabouts are low maintenance, subject to low vandalism, generally resource efficient and effective. However, in the next breath the City official said the City would be using traffic lights.

We were told that circles could not be built on a slope, they need excessive space, water drainage is an issue, and many more excuses.

In the Constantia area, the intersection on Main and Parish roads should be a circle as should the entrance to the Constantia Village, the intersection with Spaanschemat River Road and the Kendal Road intersection.

We need a circle at the Chardonnay Deli or in the vicinity and at the entrance to Groote Constantia and at Price Drive, etc. But the city is unable to see the present, they are still deeply embedded in the past when the rules of the road were followed.

At other intersections, raised areas work, but then they need to be raised, not like the Parish Road and Southern Cross drive intersection that is a mild excuse for a raised intersection. Cars and taxis sail across with aplomb.

At the presentation, we were told what could not be done, ad nausea. Not one word of what could be done, not one iota of time given to listening to the constituency on whom their jobs depend. No attempt to take the constituency into their confidence and try to work together to solve pressing issues with traffic, rat runs and speeding taxis.

We are considered cannon fodder. We can but wait for the next fatality.

Eddie Andrews, mayoral committee member for area south, responds: Roundabouts are good traffic-management measures, but a number of factors need to be considered: the geometric layout of the intersection; availability of road reserve; traffic volumes and distribution; traffic modes using the route; the class of intersecting roads; the impact on proximity to other traffic management measures; and pedestrian activity.

The design needs careful attention in order for them to function properly in a network.

The Constantia Main Road / Ladies Mile / Parish Road intersection has a slightly skew nature, and, considering the type of vehicles using this intersection, a roundabout would need to be at least 30m in diameter and, due to the road reserve, would require significant realignment of approach roads to accommodate it. Also, there are several sub-surface services, which are extremely costly to relocate. Constantia Main Road / Constantia Village: the road reserve is not wide enough for a roundabout and the cost of implementation and the relocation of electricity and other services far exceeds the cost of signals.

Letter continued on page 7

Spaanschemat River Road / Kendal Road: the road reserve is not wide enough given that there is a need for a signalised pedestrian crossing for the school. Also, the intersecting routes are non-motorised (walking and cycling) routes and, as such, traffic signals were recommended. The proposed signals will only operate on demand for right-turn movements from Kendal Road into Spaanschemat River Road as well as pedestrian movements. Otherwise, the impact should be low.

Constantia Main Road at Chardonnay Deli car park: access to this parking area is proposed to be restricted to a left-in only with an exit to the High Constantia car park. The City is currently in negotiations with the owner of the property about this proposal.

Constantia Main Road / Groot Constantia Road: our consultants are currently investigating this intersection. A roundabout may be considered, depending the outcome of the investigations.

Constantia Main Road / Price Drive: management of this intersection will be reviewed with the development proposal for Schoenstatt.