Inaction over ‘death trap’.

Monty Brink, Constantia

I have been writing to the council since September 25, 2013, regarding what I refer to as the “Death Stretch” between Paggasvlei Road and Price Drive turn-off.

I have sent a total of seven emails with disturbing photographs of the hazards that cyclists face daily along this stretch of road. Nothing has been done.

I will not name the recipients of these requests, but 12 people have been aware of the hazards I will highlight below. There are three issues of huge concern:

1. The speed at which vehicles travel down Constantia Main Road: Taxis are a particular cause for concern when there is little traffic. I was recently very close to being killed by a taxi which overtook me opposite Chardonay Deli in the dark at 6am. I estimated it must have been travelling close to 100km/* and it almost left the road after passing me. (Why have no permanent cameras been installed?)

2. The entry and exit point for Chardonay Deli and the turn-off to Groot Constantia: A few years ago a motorcyclist was killed at the latter. Those trying to enter the traffic on Constantia Main Road from Groot Constantia, have to look beyond 90 degrees in both directions. Speeding vehicles heighten this risk. Chardonay Deli has a particularly difficult entry and exit on to Constantia Main Road. (Why is there not a circle opposite the Groot Constantia turn-off to safely feed traffic on to Constantia Main Road?)

3. The stretch of road from Groot Constantia turn-off to Price Drive: This is a particularly dangerous stretch for cyclists going up the hill. There is no tar beyond the yellow line, which means road bikes are forced to share the outer third of this very narrow road with motorists. There are at least 2 to 3 metres of stony gravel that could be tarred to widen the road between Groot Constantia turn-off and Price Drive turn-off. (How difficult is it to tar an extra couple of metres for less than a kilometre?) It is time for action. Speed kills, we all know this and something can be done. Can anyone imagine a taxi laden with 12 passengers travelling at 100km/* an hour colliding with a car exiting from the Constantia turn-off or with another doing the same at Chardonay Deli.

Furthermore, while cycling lanes are being built on flat sections of road, which are far safer for cyclists (eg Ladies Mile and Firgrove roads) there are cyclists putting their lives at risk every day along the “Death Stretch”.

Which will come first, action from the council or a major catastrophe?

Brett Herron, mayoral committee member for transport and urban development, responds:

The City has communicated with Mr Brink on previous occasions, and we understand his concerns.

In February this year, the Transport and Urban Development Authority’s officials involved with roads design and transport network development assessed the section of Constantia Main Road between the deli and Price Drive.

A decision was made to survey and design a kerbed footway along this section of the road and to widen the lane in order to accommodate pedestrians and cyclists better. Additionally, consultants undertook a traffic survey of the Groot Constantia/Constantia Road intersection and made a proposal for geometric improvements.

The surveys are complete but a final conceptual plan has not been compiled as yet given that further discussions still need to take place. Once a final conceptual plan is complete we will be able to provide a cost estimate for the project and have a better idea on the way forward for the portion concerned.