Hazardous sidewalk

The pedestrian crossing as viewed from the side. Plastic pipes later added to help regulate water flow.

Fish Hoek Main Road business owners say a new pedestrian crossing to aid the elderly and shoppers at The Arcade is poorly designed and built.

They say the brick-work is untidy and the sides of the crossing are raised too high, causing water to pool there.

But the crossing has also been criticised for swallowing up five parking bays, leaving less parking along the busy Main Road.

The crossing is the result of a proposal sent to the City of Cape Town by the Fish Hoek Improvement Project (FHIP), the Fish Hoek Central Improvement District (CID) and the Fish Hoek Valley Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association (FHVRRA).

The application argued the crossing was needed because pedestrians took their lives in their hands crossing the busy Main Road, and the elderly and moms with prams were most at risk.

The application said pedestrians typically crossed the road in front of The Arcade instead of walking further down Main Road to the crossing in front of Town Square.

And the timing of traffic lights in Main Road meant pedestrians often ended up in the middle of the road, waiting for a lane to clear before crossing.

The application conceded that finding parking was already tough and that bays on Main Road, First Avenue and parking lots between First and Second Avenue were frequently full.

And the people parking there weren’t shoppers but mostly shop staff or commuters who had left their cars there for the day.

But changing the parking configuration in the road, from parallel to diagonal bays with a 45º slant, could create 40% more parking, it said.

The application suggested laying the pavements with bricks, raising the crossing and moving the Town Square traffic lights to where it is.

The application described the Fish Hoek central business district (CBD) as an “aesthetic eyesore in need of a cost effective rehabilitation afforded by the infrastructure services upgrade and topping with bricks and trees”.

Mayoral committee member for transport and urban development, Brett Herron, said the City had received several requests for a pedestrian crossing in Fish Hoek Main Road to cater for the elderly living across the road.

The approximately 100m each way to the Town Square crossing was too far to walk for the elderly using walking sticks and walkers, he said, and five parking bays were a small price to pay for pedestrian safety.

There would be no traffic lights at the crossing so it should not impede traffic flow, he said. But motorists would need to give way to pedestrians.

He suggested motorists use available parking within the area such as the three parking areas in Recreation Road and underutilised parking along Beach Road.

Nikki Geldenhuys, from Stephenson & Hodgkinson Optometrists in The Arcade, said she didn’t have a problem with the pedestrian crossing outside the practice but the one that had been built was impractical and dangerous.

“No civil engineer would put his name to it as there is no drainage pipe or slope that would approximate the design and camber of the pedestrian walkway and wheelchair friendly ramp on the opposite side of the road. Not a world issue, but a blatant waste of money. We remain with a quirky and dangerous Main street pavement,” she said.

Dennis Keet, owner of VideoRite on the opposite side of the crossing, said the construction had taken way too long and the grouting still had to be done.

“At times, we had closed both our doors due to noise and dust which resulted in a loss of business,” he said.

There had been uneven brickwork on their side of the crossing but that issue had been resolved.

However, the workmanship on the opposite side of the road was a mess.

“I suggest they put a flashing light up to alert motorists that it is a pedestrian crossing as cars often travel at great speed along the Main Road,” he said.

Greg Bing, owner of AP Jones, said he was concerned for the safety of the elderly as the uneven construction could be hazardous to them.

Leigh Barrett, founder of Revamp the Valley, said she had not seen the workmanship of the crossing but one was needed in that spot, although she felt it should be raised to prevent speeding.

Blob: In the meantime two stormwater pipes have been installed to assist with water flow.