Pedestrians put first

2018-07-10 06:01

A non-motorised transport project will see pedestrian areas around City Hall and surrounds improved.

The project, expected to start early next year, will focus on the south-eastern portions of the Cape Town CBD including Darling Street at City Hall towards the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) main campus and Gardens Centre, explains Brett Herron, Mayco member for transport and urban development.

The improvements will include the upgrading of existing sidewalks with new paved surfacing, the upgrading of existing traffic signals, pedestrian bump-outs at signalised and unsignalised intersections, and improved safety at existing pedestrian crossings.

The project is estimated to cost around R35m and will see improvements made to 72 intersections.

This is the second phase of the bump-out project implemented last year, says Herron.

The first phase of the project saw council building bump-outs at busy intersections to improve pedestrian safety and access for road users with special needs. (“Sidewalks tip hats to history”, People’s Post, 20 October 2015).

A bump-out is an extension or widening of the existing sidewalk, providing pedestrians with improved sight of oncoming traffic, and giving motorists a better view of pedestrians waiting to cross the road.

The dipped kerbs will be less steep once an upgrade is completed, making it easier for wheelchair users to get on and off the sidewalk.

Work includes finishing the new surface with asphalt, brick paving or concrete to match existing surfaces.

About 70 intersections in the CBD were upgraded at around R36m.

The project was inspired by a household survey done in 2012 which found that up to one third of low-income households walk to work, school and social amenities.

Due to the bump-outs, the crossing distance at intersections is also reduced, meaning pedestrians will spend less time crossing the road. The bump-outs make it impossible for motorists to park across pedestrian crossing lines – a regular nuisance in the city centre. They also make it impossible for motorists to drive through on-street parking to get to the front of the intersection, Herron says.

During next year’s project, the pedestrian areas at City Hall will be a focus.

“Bump-outs on either side of City Hall will increase the safety of pedestrians crossing at intersections. Planned improvements to City Hall will attract more tourists and local visitors, creating the need for improved pedestrian safety. Sidewalk improvements will also create improved pedestrian links between public transport facilities.

“[There will be] new paving of the Darling Street road surface and existing sidewalks adjacent to City Hall, creating a link between City Hall and the Grand Parade. Work will also include the widening of sidewalks adjacent to City Hall.”

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