Road safety hopes hit R27 000 speed bump

A minibus taxi turning down Fourth Avenue despite a sign indicating no taxis and trucks allowed.

At R27 000 a speed bump, residents in the upper avenues of Fish Hoek will have to dig deep if they want to prevent speedsters from racing through their neighbourhoods.

Fish Hoek Valley Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association chairman Brian Youngblood said a Fourth Avenue resident had complained in July about speeding on the road and had asked that speedsters be fined.

Mr Youngblood said the City, however, found that no one was exceeding the 60km/h speed limit by a wide enough margin (11km/h) to issue a fine.

Mr Youngblood said the City had approved the association’s subsequent request for speed bumps, giving the nod to two in Fourth Avenue and one each in Fifth and Sixth avenues, but residents would have to pay R27 000 for each of them as the roads – while each having churches in them – had no nearby schools, typically the deciding factor for the City to pay for speed bumps.

The association helped residents to place flyers in postboxes along the three avenues appealing for pledges to build the speed bumps, and it asked councillor Aimee Kuhl to allocate some of her ward budget for the cause.

Ms Kuhl said her ward budget was committed a year in advance and residents should realise that no amount of traffic calming would change driver behaviour.

“I get a request for speed bumps every week from different areas, and in some instances, where the by-law allows for it, we have put in speed bumps, but we continue to have incidents,” she said.

The flyers gave residents until Wednesday November 15 to respond, but Mr Youngblood said he had had no response from Sixth Avenue and only one pledge each from Fourth and Fifth Avenues. Three residents had told him they would support the speed bumps if the City paid for them.

Fourth Avenue resident Sherri Bailey-Bell said she was in favour of speed bumps because the road was used as a short cut to the main road, and taxis often sped down the road, ignoring signage that barred them and trucks.

“Hundreds of people speed up and down the road, and it is absolutely crazy. Lots of school children walk up and down the road to and from school as well as elderly people who can’t jump out of the way if a car is headed for them.”

Cars were also parked on both sides of the road making it difficult to get out of the way, and the speeding cars made it hard to get out of their driveway, she said.

Her daughter, Jade, said traffic on the road threatened the safety of children and pets.

“I respect and understand that the City of Cape Town can’t undertake the building of the speed bumps, and I’m grateful to the ratepayers’ association for working with residents to solve the problem,” said Jade.

Mayoral committee member for urban mobility Rob Quintas said the City’s traffic-calming policy focussed on protecting vulnerable road users in their largest numbers, typically on roads near schools.

He said the City supported speed bumps in Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth avenues due to the attraction of vulnerable road users to the clinic and various churches as well as the many taxis filtering through those roads, but the City was not prepared to pay for them.

The Fish Hoek Catholic Church on the corner of Kommetjie Road and Sixth Avenue.
The back of St Margaret’s Anglican Church at the top of Fourth Avenue.
St Margaret’s Anglican Church at the top of Fifth Avenue.