Penguin crossing now extinct

2018-11-06 06:01
Penguin crossing which has since been painted over.

Penguin crossing which has since been painted over.

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The Penguin Crossing near Jubilee Square in Simon’s Town was short lived; however, the Simon’s Town Business Association (STBA) is happy about the impact they had and the awareness they created within just a few days.

The crossing was painted over because it is against international traffic law to paint over any road markings.

Liesel Coetzer, chairperson of the STBA, says the idea to paint the penguins on the pedestrian crossing came about after a networking session with the former minister of economic opportunities, Alan Winde.

“We had a very fruitful networking session with the minister and he told us ideas on how we can make our town attractive and get more people in the area. He told us about a pedestrian crossing that was painted in Stellenbosch and cited examples worldwide, so we thought it was a good idea to paint the crossing with penguins to raise awareness as well,” she says.

Coetzer says after the meeting they sent an email to the City council detailing what they were planning to do, and if there would be any objections they should let them know before they go on to buy the paint. “We never got any response so we went ahead and painted the penguins. People loved it and the pictures of what we had done were shared a lot. People really loved the idea and it was unfortunate that it had to be painted over,” she says.

During the networking session, Winde said: “When I addressed them, I told the STBA to focus on the things that make them unique. I am absolutely delighted that they took that idea and ran with it, resulting in something that is really special. Boulders Beach is a world famous penguin colony, home to the endangered African penguin, and this endeavour shows the town’s love and support for these birds.

“This is the kind of thing that makes for great holiday photos that can then be shared on social media, raising the profile of Simon’s Town around the world.”

Coetzer says it is now water under the bridge as they are looking at other projects now to raise awareness of penguins. “We are in touch with our ward councillor to have the bus stops painted instead and we will continue to raise awareness for the penguins,” she says.

The City of Cape Town’s Transport and Urban Development Authority (TDA) is mandated to ensure that all road markings adhere to the National Road Traffic Act which aims to ensure the safety of all road users.

The City says it is their responsibility to ensure that all road markings comply with national regulations, in order to ensure the safety of all road users.

Eddie Andrews, Mayco member (South), says residents are reminded that they are not allowed to paint their own road markings, be it to create or restrict parking outside their homes, or to beautify their areas. The relevant national regulations clearly define which road markings are permitted for display on public roads.

“These regulations refer to standard specifications which include font types, letter sizes, symbols, line thickness, the type and colour of paint required, and the legal meaning of each standard marking­.”

Andrews adds that recently, in Simon’s Town, local residents painted penguins at a pedestrian crossing to create the impression that they are crossing the street.

“Quirky and creative as the images may have been, we unfortunately had to repaint the standard formal road markings, thereby removing the penguin markings which were in contravention of the national regulations and had the potential to distract or confuse road users.

“It should be noted that there may be other opportunities outside of the road environment which can be investigated in consultation with relevant council departments so that residents can celebrate and promote the unique penguin population in that area,” he says.

Residents can also contact the Transport Information Centre (TIC) to report general faults and to request the repainting of road markings.

V Residents are encouraged to contact the City’ Transport Information Centre via email to or call 0800 656 463 (free call 24/7), or contact their ward councillor or local subcouncil office for consideration of road marking requests by the TDA.


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