Hikers hog the space

2015-06-30 06:00

A joint solution is being sought to prevent illegal parking along Signal Hill Road.

This as an influx of hikers during events or good weather limits emergency access to Lion’s Head, which has become problematic during full moon hikes.

Sanparks spokesperson Merle Collins says they have received numerous complaints about traffic congestion along Signal Hill Road on full moon nights, which have been reported to the traffic authorities.

“It has an obvious negative impact on other road users, especially emergency vehicles. It also impacts on tour bus companies and the general public as vehicles are unable to pass the area because of double parking,” she explains.

Cape Town Community Police Forum chairperson Nicola Jowell explains that more people and cars in any area means the challenge of policing is also increased.

“The increased volume make the area more attractive to would-be criminals as there is more opportunities for them. So the criminal element could increase along with the number of people who are enjoying a very unique evening on the mountain,” she says.

“Policing is further complicated in that there can regularly be access issues as the roads are congested getting onto and off the mountain. Illegal parking makes the flow of traffic slower. So in many cases the response of police vehicles, ambulances, fire engines, etc. can be significantly impacted.”

Richard Bosman, City of Cape Town executive director for safety and security, says parking along Signal Hill Road has been known to be problematic, especially when the weather is good or when there are events that attract people to the area.

“Although this is Sanparks land, the City’s traffic service has responded to complaints in the past and also conducts ad hoc patrols in the area to try and minimise the congestion and ensure the free flow of traffic. Congestion has the potential to not only raise tempers and create backlogs, but is also potentially dangerous to road users as well as any emergency services that may be required to pass through,” he says.

Unfortunately, illegal parking and other traffic violations are commonplace across the city and traffic officers carry out enforcement operations in as many areas as possible. However, they are not able to be everywhere all of the time, he says.

Collins says Sanparks is working with the City to find a joint solution.

“Additional rangers are deployed in the area a few days before full moon and a few days after full moon. Table Mountain National Park is also in discussion with the relevant traffic authorities to come up with a joint solution to the problem. The road is a public road and the park has no jurisdiction over it,” she says.

However, Jowell is urging residents to also play a part.
“We need to appeal to the public to obey the rules of the road when they are on the mountain and especially at these peak times. Please do not park illegally, allow emergency vehicles to access the area and to make sure that wherever you park you are not obstructing the roadway so that a large vehicle such as a fire engine would struggle to get through,” she says.

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