Spend on traffic calming

Peter Stenslunde, Constantia

Interesting reply from Mayco member Eddie Andrews regarding traffic calming (“Get with the times”, Bulletin, February 9).

It would appear that all is well. Far from it and remember, the five year “voting and budget cycle” came to an end in the budget ending July 2016; meaning you will only be needed in another four-and-a-half years when the politicians come out again on all eight legs.

The fact is that the City-wide budget for traffic calming is only R7.25 million (down from R18 million the previous election year) and concentrated around schools, libraries and public places. Why then is safety and security (including traffic safety) ranked the second pillar in the five year Integrated Development Plan? To put the R7.25 million figure in in perspective, renovations to City Hall over the next three years cost R47 million -priority over safety?

The City spends R50 million a year on its “communications” campaign – making sure it gets the right amount of spin and DA propaganda out to the voting public – which we all know is pillar number one in the Integrated Development Plan.

“Our audits are unqualified,” the DA gods will cry hoping that people will nod their heads and say “hmm you have a point”. They may be unqualified – but they still write off R2 billion – all it means is that they have accounted for the R2 billion and there is no unverified leakage as a qualified audit would mean. Traffic calming measures (ensuring the safety of the ratepayers who finance the City’s budget) for the entire city would be taken care of in one year with R2 billion with money to spare.

No budget for traffic calming? Yet of the R2 billion, the City writes off R750 million worth of traffic fines – a year. Page 156 of the budget. In fact this year it is R808 million.

Brett Herron, Mayco member for transport and urban development, responds:

The City’s Transport and Urban Development Authority (TDA) on average receives about 500 requests for traffic calming each year.

For almost 20 years, local government in the Cape Town metropolitan area has seen the need for a traffic calming policy to determine which requests for calming measures should be acceded to and which requests must be addressed through alternative measures such as increased law enforcement. The previous traffic calming policy was approved on 22 June 2011.

Over the last few years, the unsustainability of the approach adopted by the 2011 traffic calming policy became all the more apparent. The latest revision was therefore initiated early in 2015 and approved by Council on January 28.

The new policy also addresses the current backlog of 500 traffic calming projects to the value of R30 milion.

The huge backlog is as a result of funding constraints and limited human resources.

Contrary to popular belief, traffic calming measures are expensive and time-consuming to implement as they require a lengthy process involving detailed designs, traffic impact assessments, reports from road engineers and public participation processes.

In terms of the revised traffic calming policy, the following conditions have been in force since January 28:

* The TDA will focus its limited resources on systematically addressing traffic calming measures at schools across the city and to implementing the (approximately) 500 already approved measures that have not yet been implemented due to funding constraints.

* Private funding of traffic calming measures may be allowed at public facilities with a high number of vulnerable road users, subject to compliance with relevant provisions of the traffic calming policy.

* For all other requests residents must engage with their local ward councillors and sub-councils, especially for roads with a proven history of crashes, or a recent and very serious incident that demands immediate intervention. Should the sub-council support the application, the sub-council’s ward allocation funding may be used to investigate and implement traffic calming measure(s)deemed to meet relevant criteria

I want to note that the revised traffic calming policy places a great emphasis on the need for residents to engage with their local ward councillors about roads in their areas with a history of road accidents where traffic calming measures may assist to change driver behaviour.

Private parties wishing to fund traffic calming measures at public facilities should submit their requests to the Transport Information Centre via email to Transport.info@capetown.gov.za

* Mr Herron’s response has been shortened.