Residents and business owners in Plumstead’s Pluto Road have started a petition to have their road closed off from South Road, a key route in the City’s plans for a MyCiTi bus service in Wynberg and surrounding areas.
Public comment on a proposed bridge over the southern railway line and the full and partial closure of roads surrounding South Road opened on Monday June 26 and ends this Friday.
The City says council approved the concept design for the MyCiTi bus routes in Wynberg in March 2019, including the route alignment, which essentially connects the M5/Ottery Road interchange to Main Road (M4) through South and Waterbury roads.
“Since the approval in 2019, the concept design has been further developed to accommodate a bridge crossing the southern railway line. It is proposed that the overpass (bridge) must be wide enough to accommodate four lanes: one in each direction for the MyCiTi buses and one in each direction for normal vehicular traffic, as well as walking and cycle lanes. A number of roads intersecting with South Road and Waterbury Road will need to be fully or partially closed, on a permanent basis, to accommodate the new dedicated bus lanes,” the City said in a statement.
The current proposal is for Pluto Road to remain open and intersect with South Road. So far the petition against the plan has 84 signatures. It calls for Pluto Road to be closed off as has been proposed for the other parallel surrounding roads. It says the road is too narrow and generally unsuitable to handle the increased traffic that would be funnelled down it should it remain open.
The road, says the petition, is in a state of disrepair with multiple potholes and is home to families, a home for the aged, heritage buildings, a paediatric speech-therapy practice and other parties who value peace and safety. It also provides access to Lympleigh Road Park, a busy recreational area for the community, which will become unsafe should traffic volumes increase.
“We object to the natural increase in air and noise pollution, which will negatively impact residents, and are concerned that our property values will diminish should Pluto become a centralised ‘mini main road’,” the petition says.
Mark van Wyk, chairman of the Plumstead Civic Association, said they supported closing the road.
“If they allow that road to stay open that is going to impact heavily on traffic flow. The only access to Plumstead will be at the end of Southfield Road and the top of Southfield Road. Waterford Road and Cherbourg Road get a lot more traffic as it is. Homeowners want that road closed.
“I definitely think it is going to increase traffic flow. We’ve already got an issue at the moment with the taxis in Lympleigh Road because they scoot along Kent Road from Wynberg over South Road and into Lympleigh Road. Those residents in Lympleigh are already having a problem with that, and now they’re saying they’re going to close off all the roads except Pluto Road. I reckon they close all of them and only give access at the bottom of Prince George’s Drive, which is big enough, and Waterford Road for the traffic,” Mr Van Wyk said.
Residents in Napier and Portswood roads had also voiced concerns to the civic association, he said.
“The proposed planning for those roads is vague. So those residents were a little bit concerned, and we have had a number of people contacting us regarding that, but the City themselves are not quite too sure where the traffic intersection is going to end up.”
Mr Van Wyk said that due to the lengthening of Rosmead Avenue in the MyCiTi plans, the traffic intersection between Ottery Road, Rosmead Avenue and the old Prince George Drive would be moved.
“The plans haven’t actually stipulated exactly where the traffic intersection is going to be. If you look closely at that plan there are no measurements. They have given no dimensions and no measurements. One of the questions we asked City officials was, ‘Where are the measurements?’ The answer we got was, ‘It has not been finalised,’” Mr Van Wyk said.
Ward 63 councillor Carmen Siebritz said she had met with a few residents and City officials on Monday August 14 when further proposals had been tabled, and the technical team would go back to consider them, including the comments received during the public participation period.
“I have made some proposals, which I believe could benefit Plumstead as a whole and not only residents in Pluto Road. The technical team will provide feedback soonest,” she said.
Mayoral committee member for urban mobility Rob Quintas said the meeting referred to by Ms Siebritz had been held to get a better understanding of the residents’ concerns about the City’s proposals for full and partial road closures in this area.
“We made a commitment at this meeting that we will consider all possibilities in an effort to address their concerns.
“Once we have a comprehensive overview of the comments, objections, and proposals received after the closing date, and all of the comments/submissions have been collated, these will be reviewed and considered as far as is practically possible and included/accommodated in the final detailed design of the routes for the MyCiTi bus service in Wynberg and surrounds.
“Once this process has been concluded, a report about the outcome of the public participation process will serve before council for approval.”