Traffic woes

John Siebert, Noordhoek

In her letter “The year that was 2017” (Echo, December 14 2017), ward councillor, Felicity Purchase cites “transport and congestion” as major problems facing the South Peninsula sub-council, but was able to give motorists some Christmas cheer regarding the latter, at least in the licensing centre, with news of additional counters that will put an end to the “painful experience” of a visit there.

Motorists can also look forward to the completions of the Ou Kaapse Weg widening and the Kommetjie Road upgrading in two years time, and until then “celebrate” the now finished Main Road upgrading (“a magnificent end-product to last a hundred years”).

Non-motorists on the other hand are given little to celebrate and that only the slight prospect of marginally shorter bus/taxi journey times. Many painful experiences will continue. As a concrete example, users of the bus stop serving the Longbeach/Sun Valley malls etc. (consisting of a pole and a metre-wide strip of sand – shared with a hedge – between the Longbeach Village security wall and the kerb of the road bounding the Longbeach mall car park) will just have to go on standing in sun, rain, and wind.

Some two years ago ago Ms Purchase was, in fact, asked to look into this state of affairs, as were (more recently) the mall managements (Growth Point and Shoprite/Checkers) in their roles of significant ratepayers and “responsible corporate citizens having regard to the environment”, but not the slightest interest was shown by any of the parties. The question as to why, when Longbeach Mall was at the planning stage, ample space was reserved for taxis, but none for Golden Arrow buses remains unanswered by the sub-council.

Ms Purchase’s selective observations on transport and congestion demonstrate her planning department’s failure to grasp the simple truth that without substantial investment in public transport sufficient to entice motorists from their vehicles, the provision of magnificent autobahns, 10 lane 4-way intersections and whatever will merely exacerbate the exponential growth of traffic volumes in the already car-saturated deep south. They will, in fact, aggravate the very problems of social cohesion, safety and security and environmental degradation Ms Purchase identifies as the main impediments to her overall “strategic objectives of risk reduction and economic development”.

Such investment – taken from the road budget – needs to be coupled with a moratorium on low density housing and commercial development predicated on car ownership (such as Noordhoek Village).

In looking forward to Ms Purchase’s “The Year that was 2018” one may hope it reflects some of the above considerations. At the very least she could announce the refurbishing of the appalling public conveniences at the truly awful Fish Hoek transport interchange rather than still faster throughputs at the licensing centre. In the meantime, travellers might seek permission to use Metrorail’s magnificently refurbished platform toilets which put the DA administration to shame.

This sub-council “works for you” … but mainly if you have a car.

Felicity Purchase responds:

Mr Siebert has very legitimate concerns which the City has tried, on numerous occasions, to remedy but not successfully. Bus stops are a joint responsibility of the City and Golden Arrow as far as I am aware and I will again endeavour to have the matter dealt with satisfactorily.