No way, subway

2017-04-11 06:01
Residents can have their say on a proposal to close or restrict access to three of the subways in Wynberg.PHOTO: TIYESE JERANJI

Residents can have their say on a proposal to close or restrict access to three of the subways in Wynberg.PHOTO: TIYESE JERANJI

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Subways have always been a cause of concern for residents and train passengers due to the criminals they harbour or bring to an area.

Over the last few years Wynberg residents have been trying to have some risky subways closed or at least locked at certain times. Residents who use these subways or stay close to them are concerned about petty crimes, loitering and drug dealing, explains ward councillor Liz Brunette.

Subways provide an easy escape route for criminals, leaving Law Enforcement officers chasing them in cars from the opposite side of the railway line, Brunette says.

The Lower Piers Road subway floods when it rains. The City of Cape Town’s transport and urban development authority clears the stormwater channel in the Prasa rail reserve and the drains in the subway as part of its preparation for winter.

The palisade fencing along the railway line is not secure, and apparently people climb over the fencing and gates to get to the subway, Brunette adds.

In a bid to listen to the residents and promote safety, City officials are now calling on residents to comment on their idea for closure of or restricted access to subways in Mitcham, Piers and Park roads.

According to the information on the City’s website calling for public comment, the officials say: “We have received requests from residents to permanently restrict access at the Park Road and Piers Road subways, as well as to temporarily restrict access at the Mitchum Road subway between 22:30 and 04:00. The nearest alternative access points are on Broad and Rockley roads, Wynberg.”

Residents can send their comments until Saturday. Athol Swanson of the Wynberg Improvement District (WID) says the misuse of the subways has concerned residents for some time.

“Recently discussions were held at the Wynberg Community Policing Forum (CPF) and sector CPF subforums with the sector neighbourhood watches and the City to address the possible closure of certain subways to improve public safety. Complaints and reports of incidents are made to the Wynberg police and Law Enforcement.”

“We are requesting residents to comment on this proposal so that the City will hear how they feel about it. Will the closure affect you in any way? Will it affect how you go to work? This is a nice opportunity for the City to get an understanding of how it will affect you as the resident of Wynberg,” Swanson says.

Brunette says she has received complaints about subways from Law Enforcement, business owners and residents and agrees that it is vital to get residents’ opinions.

“Last year in October a site meeting was arranged by the ward councillors for CPF members, neighbourhood watch members, the WID, the police, Law Enforcement and local residents.

“I’m very pleased that something is being done about the subways; residents have been trying get this going for the last three years.

“The transport and urban development authority’s assets and infrastructure department has assisted the councillors during the process and provided ­funding.”

Brunette adds that residents, the WID and various safety and security agencies believe that closure and locking some subways will solve their problems.

“The WID has volunteered to lock and unlock the gates at the prescribed times, which will require a memorandum of understanding with the City. Neighbourhood patrols can help ensure that the lights, gates and handrails are not ­vandalised.

“Residents should use the bins for their litter and not soil the subways.

“Many people use the subways to move through Wynberg for shopping, to go to work, visit their friends and to connect with public transport.

“When the subways are closed, the Broad Road and Rockley Road tunnels under the railway line and the subway at Wittebome station will provide access from one side to the other, so getting to hear what people think is important,” she says.

Call 021 444 3257 or email comments, input or recommendations to tct.plumstead@capetown.­gov.­za, write to Private Bag X5, Plumstead, 8000, fax 021 444 3808 or deliver your comments to your nearest subcouncil office.

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