Lots of difficulties at intersection

Michael du Preez, Constantia

Following the letter from Monty Brink (“Inaction over death trap”, Bulletin, May 11), may I add my own comments regarding that section of the Constantia Main Road immediately above the Price Drive intersection?

Exiting from the Price Drive at the intersection with Constantia Main Road is fraught with difficulties. There are two main reasons. Firstly, visibility down the hill (as one looks towards the Groot Constantia turnoff) is always difficult, because the stop sign at the bottom of Price is sited quite a way back from the actual intersection. This makes clear visibility down the road impossible, due to the line of trees stretching downhill. This necessitates edging forward into the lane for upcoming traffic before clear sightlines are possible.

Secondly, visibility to the left of the Price Drive intersection is further complicated because the section of carriageway leading down from Constantia Nek is not on an evenly graded downslope – with the effect that about 100m uphill is a blind rise. (Unless there is a vehicle with a high body, such as a van / lorry, there is a period when downcoming cars are out of sight. It takes only five seconds before such a car is situated exactly at the Price Drive intersection – provided only that the driver is observing the 60km/h speed limit – which seldom appears to be the case.

Additionally, a third factor comes into play – taxis.

Whether there is a vehicle actually waiting immediately to the left of the Price Drive intersection (thus completely blocking the upward view of traffic), oncoming taxis frequently execute a U-turn at this site (either in the main road itself, when relatively clear, or by nipping a short way up Price Drive, swinging a U-turn, and then overtaking the vehicle waiting at the stop sign (thus preventing any movement by the car at the stop sign until his taxi is haring down the road).

Of further note and relevance is that taxis frequently stop to take on board, or discharge, passengers on the corner immediately to the left of the intersection with Price Drive – thus effectively obscuring for some considerable time, any possibility of seeing traffic coming down the hill. This contributes to further delay – and risk – at this difficult spot. Maybe a properly designated and constructed taxi halt, with space for pulling well off the carriageway, and then leaving in safety, would be the answer. And strictly no U-turns.

Finally, maybe signage, warning those vehicles driving down from the direction of Constantia Nek, that the speed restriction is strictly 60km/* ?

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

Unfortunately, taxis stopping and ranking illegally and disregarding the provisions of the National Road Traffic Act is a problem all over the city, but they are not the only ones behaving badly – many road users are guilty of flouting the law on an all too regular basis.

The City’s Traffic Service conducts enforcement operations in as many areas as possible. However, given our finite resources, we are not able to be everywhere all of the time and enforcement is often complaints-driven.

We therefore encourage residents to report traffic concerns to 021 596 1999 to help us focus our operations.

Although the City previously set the stop line back to enable drivers to see oncoming traffic between the trees, there is still space to edge forward to see beyond the tree-line.

Sight lines currently meet the relevant standards. In terms of safety, five minor accidents have been recorded over the past five years, two of which involved vehicles entering the intersection. This may indicate that motorists tend to use the intersection with greater caution.

We have requested that external consultants undertake a speed limit review and a road safety audit of Constantia Main Road. These are very comprehensive surveys which will take approximately three months to complete and may indicate the need for improvements to the intersections.

It must be noted that residents also have the option of exiting from Groot Constantia Road, which offers greater lines of sight.