Change speed limit on Runciman Drive

Steph Mellor, Simon’s Town

With the current roadworks in the Main Road, traffic users opt for Runciman Drive as an alternative, and reckless driving along this route (which has a few blind spots) is becoming more and more hazardous to pedestrians, cyclists, the elderly, and scholars.

Even without the roadworks, due to an increase in traffic generally, Runciman Drive is becoming dangerous to all users – certain drivers simply ignore the speed limit as well as any other rules.

The turn into Nelson Drive is of particular concern, with several residents reporting near brushes with vehicles, taxis especially. The turn into Goede Gift is equally problematic – very few vehicles ever bother to stop there.

Traffic must be slowed down on this stretch by some means, whether an additional stop street or other mechanism.

Additionally, Runciman Drive becomes a racetrack for the navy especially in the afternoons. Everyone is in a big hurry and dodging the traffic snarl-ups on the Main Road, which has its own problems.

Taxis are a law unto themselves, buses park wherever they please and people speed.

The stretch between Simon’s Town station and the Redhill turn-off and the traffic lights at Dido Valley Road are also of huge concern. It’s a long open road and vehicles fly along there in the face of oncoming traffic, sometimes in the wrong lane, with no regard whatsoever for safety. There are speeding dangerously and using their phones while doing so.

Can the speed limit not be altered to 40km/h on Runciman Drive as for the Main Road? Also, could we please have some traffic police presence at the times of day when this behaviour is taking place? Between 6.45am and 8am in the morning especially?

• Mayoral committee member for urban mobility Rob Quintas responds:

In terms of the National Road Traffic Act and its regulations, all roads are considered 60km/h speed zones unless otherwise signed.

In order to legally alter the speed of a road, a comprehensive speed-limit review survey is required and undertaken by consultants, where numerous factors are recorded along the road environment, apart from the operating speeds, to determine the safe speed for a road.

The sample speeds are measured over an off-peak period, when there is free flow, and where a sample of 100 vehicles per direction can be measured to determine highest and 85th percentile speeds.

The speed-limit-review reports are ultimately reviewed by the City’s speed-limit-review team of traffic engineers and traffic services.

The decisions are safety based, but there is no certainty a survey will result in a change, especially where the regulated speeds are acceptable in terms of the road environment.

The surveys are costly, and the City’s region can only accommodate four road surveys a year. Therefore, at this stage, our programme is reserved only for arterials and secondary arterials where there are recorded hazardous locations (high-crash zones), schools zones, etc.

If the change in speed is recommended, then the road needs to be formally registered and sign-posted before it can be legally enforced.

However, the Department of Transport and the Road Traffic Management Corporation are reviewing South Africa’s current speed limits.

This would effectively see the baseline speed limits across the country reduced by 20km/h. i.e. the country’s highways from 120km/h to 100km/h, while the top speeds on main roads would drop from 100km/h to 80km/h. Speeds in residential areas would decrease from 60km/h to 40km/h.

Runciman Drive is a class-4 residential access route and functions as an alternative to Main Road. Runciman Drive will be added to our list for investigation but is, unfortunately, not considered a high-priority at this stage.

• Spokesperson traffic services Maxine Bezuidenhout responds: Traffic Services is looking into the enforcement concerns and will attend to them.