Congestion on the beaten track

2017-03-07 09:49

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As visitors to Lion’s Head increase, local organisations are looking for ways to manage the impact on surrounding roads.

Ward councillor Brandon Golding says Lion’s Head has become an ever more popular destination for both locals and tourists.

“Climbing Lion’s Head is deemed by many to be a bucket list activity. As the volumes of people climbing Lion’s Head increase, there is an increasing pressure on the surrounding infrastructure and road network,” he says.

Golding, along with the Friends of Lion’s Head and Sanparks, have looked to identify “problem areas and possible short, medium and long-term interventions which may help alleviate these”.

The Friends of Lion’s Head recorded that an average of 450 people visited the peak per week day during a three-week period in spring last year. On Saturdays, the number of visitors increased to 1400 and on Sundays to 1760.

Full moon hikes saw over 800 people on Lion’s Head. On the night of the super moon in November, over 2300 people climbed Lion’s Head.
Sanparks is currently planning to do an audit to find out what is needed to bring the Lion’s Head trails up to the necessary level for green flag status (“Green flag in the wind”, People’s Post, 14 February).

While the green flag status won’t necessarily improve concerns such as litter, the audit will make recommendations on the path, lookout points and signage.

Friends of Lion’s Head chairperson Louise Farrell declined to comment until the outcome of the audit was available.

Added to the large number of visitors is the usual traffic using Signal Hill via Signal Hill Road, says Golding.

“This currently leads to severe traffic congestion which spills over into Kloofnek Road,” he says.

“This congestion results in a substantial parking problem and has been identified as an impediment should emergency vehicles need to access Signal Hill Road. Coupled to this is the need for additional ablution facilities and watering pointss.”

Since climbing Lion’s Head during full moon has become especially popular, Golding says they have talked about organising those nights as if they were large, public events.

“If this was an official and approved event, what would be required in an infrastructural and planning sense to make it succeed? The intent is to gauge the baseline requirement with regards to crowd management, parking and traffic, fire and safety, ablutions and other facilities,” says Golding.

Should it be decided full moon hikes need to be run as an event, Golding says, sponsors would need to be found to carry the cost of the services, resources and facilities needed.

“We are all committed to ensuring the climbing of Lion’s Head, specifically on full moon nights, is enjoyable yet well managed and a safe activity for all.”

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