Peaceful protest for pavement

Ocean View children call for safe pavements on the road between Ocean View and Kommetjie.

Children, cyclists, skateboarders and civic groups staged a peaceful protest on Saturday to call for a pavement on the road between Ocean View and Kommetjie.

The roadside protest was organised by road-safety activist and Kommetjie resident Caro Smit. Ms Smit is the founder and director of South Africans Against Drunk Driving (Sadd).

Sadd works with similar road-safety organisations around the world to reduce road deaths and injuries.

“Speed is the main killer. We work on evidence-based practices, like asking for speed reductions – 30km, especially outside schools – as well as advocating for the rights of non-motorised transport (NMT) users, pedestrians, the elderly, people with disabilities, runners, cyclists and women with children in prams,” she said.

Elspeth Hurley, 7, said she dreamt of going to school either by horse or bicycle. Her mother, Emily Hurley, said the verge was too rough for her small bike and she would not be safe, especially in peak traffic.

Patrick Dowling, chairman of the Ocean View and Kommetjie Residents’ Association, said developers and City were not paying attention to NMT. “It’s the social fabric to building community cohesion,” he said.

Skateboarder Sasha James, of Imhoff’s Gift, said he was tired of hearing about cyclists, skateboarders and even pedestrians on zebra crossings being knocked down.

Matthew Gamage said skateboarding the 2km from his Slangkop home to work in Weavers End was dangerous, and recently he was almost hit by a taxi doing a U-turn in Kommetjie Road.

Ms Smit said that according to the Road Traffic Management Corporation, it costs the country R7 million, on average, when someone is killed on the road. “Therefore, installing NMT lanes will save money in the long run,” she said.

Ms Smit said they were asking for a separate track for vulnerable users with a barrier to prevent vehicles crossing onto it. It should also be well lit.

Ward councillor Simon Liell-Cock, who is a member of the City’s urban mobility portfolio, said he had tried for more than a decade to get funding for pavements from Ocean View to Kommetjie as part of a bigger plan to use NMT and public transport routes to link Ocean View to Fish Hoek station.

Mr Liell-Cock said the unpaved verge was classified as “rural”, but the law required the City to prioritise requests. He said street lighting had been installed last year to make the road safer at night for pedestrians and vehicles, and further improvements would be rolled out as the demand justified them and the budget became available.

When an NMT path was built, it would be well away from the roadside behind the street lights, he said.

Felicity Purchase, political head of the City’s transport portfolio, said the Kommetjie Road upgrade was a three-phase process and would eventually get into Kommetjie.

“The next phase is from Capri to Houmoed Road, which we are in the process of developing after land acquisitions and other details are finalised,” she said.

The green cycle path mats would be included in the upgrade, she said.

Mayoral committee member for urban mobility Rob Quintas said major upgrades to Kommetjie Main Road from Ou Kaapseweg to Capri Drive had been completed in March 2020. The City supported NMT facilities – including universal access for people in wheelchairs and others with special needs – along that section of Kommetjie Road and they would be built as soon as there was an available budget.

Peaceful protesters lined Kommetjie Main Road on Saturday asking for safe pavements.
Neighbourhood watch members, from left, Florence Messier, Denver Daniels and Leon Franker.
Emily Hurley with Zinnia, 4, and Elspeth, 7, who has dreamt of going to school either by horse or bicycle.
The Ocean View and Kommetjie Residents’ Association chairman Patrick Dowling with skateboarders Sasha James of Imhoff and Matthew Gamage of Slangkop.
Call for a pavement on the road between Ocean View and Kommetjie.