‘Traffic will only be worse’

2015-06-02 06:00
Developments around the stadium will impact on already burdened roads in Green Point, a traffic report has found. 

nicole mccain

Developments around the stadium will impact on already burdened roads in Green Point, a traffic report has found. PHOTO: nicole mccain

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Traffic on Green Point’s main roads is set to worsen if developments around the stadium go ahead, residents believe.

A recent traffic impact assessment (TIA) carried out as part of the rezoning application for the stadium, found that although the development of the stadium can be accommodated on the existing road infrastructure, the development of other sites as well as the stadium would increase congestion. This would necessitate measures to deal with the congestion.

The rezoning application proposes a new site next to the stadium on Granger Bay Boulevard and the provincial government is releasing parcels of land in the Somerset precinct for development. There is also ongoing development at the Vandamp;A Waterfront, which includes a proposed expansion towards Granger Bay.

The assessment confirms what residents are already observing, says Luke Stevens, spokesperson of the Green Point Ratepayers’ Association.

“Broadly speaking, the TIA shows that Helen Suzman Boulevard can and should carry a much higher volume of traffic than Main Road; indeed it manages to do so in the morning rush hour towards the city,” he says.

However in the evening period, because of the unfinished flyover, the right-turn intersection at Buitengracht and Hans Strijdom roads reaches full capacity, with traffic diverted onto the Somerset Road/ Main Road corridor, Stevens explains.

“The 2144 cars per hour that already thunder along this road each afternoon underscore the lost opportunity for people to do simple human things like speak: Pedestrians can barely hear one another, pavement-facing businesses lose foot traffic and the so-called bicycle route along Somerset Road section becomes a complete joke. The situation is poised to become much worse,” he says.

The TIA report suggests a lower scale development on the Granger Bay Boulevard site, next to the stadium, to limit the traffic impact. The City of Cape Town would like to implement this proposal, says Garreth Bloor, mayoral committee member for tourism, events and economic development.

“Partly based on the TIA, a decision was made to submit a rezoning application for the medium development scenario. This will limit the bulk and height of the development,” he says.

In a growing city, the increased use of private cars inevitably results in increased traffic congestion, Bloor says.

“This is why the City and provincial authorities are promoting public transport and investing heavily in it. In time, partial signalisation at the Green Point traffic circle will be implemented to increase capacity for the eastbound approach. This is expected to provide more balance in approach flows at the circle,” he says.

However, this will not be enough to prevent heavy congestion, Stevens says.

He believes the development of the Granger Bay Boulevard site and Somerset precinct will also break the intersections with Granger Bay Boulevard at Main Road and Helen Suzman Boulevard.

“The proposal is for partial signalisation of the traffic circle; this will destroy any chance of diverting outbound traffic from Green Point onto Helen Suzman. Frustrated motorists weighing up the disadvantage of being held back by yet another set of red lights will certainly choose the freedom of a rat-run along Main Road,” he says.

“It seems that motorists are certain to be moving at less than walking pace throughout Green Point and Mouille Point within the next five years.”

A bold change of thinking is now required, Stevens says. “By way of example, permanent pedestrianisation of the Fan Mile along Somerset Road to block through-traffic might finally bring about the change in behaviour that sees bus, bicycle and foot traffic become preferred modes of travel for visitors and residents.”

City officials are evaluating the application and will prepare a report to the council, Bloor says. “A decision by the municipality on the land use application for the stadium will not take place until the decision has been made by the competent authority dealing with the environmental application.”

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