Stop sign up for bumper-to-bumper

2017-05-09 10:20

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A top City of Cape Town official says residents need to practise alternative ways to stop congestion on roads during peak hours.

Brett Herron, Mayco member for transport and urban development, has called on businesses and motorists to find out how they can better manage their working hours to allow employees to work flexible hours in an attempt to ease peak-hour traffic.

Herron makes the plea after the City’s transport and urban development authority adjusted the timing of the traffic lights at the intersection of Rhodes Avenue and the M3 in Newlands to lessen traffic from the far south during peak hours.

The change to the robots follows an investigation by the department in March that revealed that the queue of cars on the M3 during the morning peak-hour period covered a distance of 6.5km, while the queue of cars along Rhodes Avenue covered about 300m. He says since the change to the traffic signals, the inbound queue of cars on the M3 has been decreased to 3.3km, while the queue on Rhodes Avenue has increased to about 1.7 km.

He says the motorists using Rhodes Avenue must obey the new timing and know that the changes have been made deliberately and there were no faults on the traffic signals.

“The timing of the traffic signals at this intersection was deliberately adjusted to relieve the congestion on the M3 inbound during the morning peak through a fairer distribution of delay and opportunity to all road users.

“Motorists should also note that the left-turn arrow phase from Rhodes Avenue into Union Avenue (M3) only operates when the right-turn phase from Union Avenue into Rhodes Avenue is called by a waiting vehicle. If the left-turn arrow phase does not appear during a particular signal cycle, it does not imply a fault,” Herron explains.

Herron says the City council has approved, and will sometime soon implement, the travel demand management strategy to alleviate inbound traffic to the city centre by allowing some officials to work flexi-time.
He adds: “Many residents spend three hours on the city’s arterial routes during the peak-hour traffic periods because historic and inflexible working hours require them to start and finish working between 08:00 and 17:00. Cape Town’s spatial and geographical layout also exacerbates traffic congestion because commuters travel in the same direction towards centres of employment and this explains the congestion on the M3 and all of the other freeways.”

He says apart from working from home or flexi-hours, businesses can allow some employees to work a compressed work week by fitting a five-day work into four days instead.

Apart from reducing congestion, spending less time on the roads would be likely to improve employees’ productivity and lifestyles, he says.
City plans are also aimed at encouraging residents to use public transport, walk or cycle where possible or carpool.

“I often hear motorists who drive alone in their cars complaining about bumper-to-bumper traffic. It is ironic because those among us who are travelling in single occupancy cars are the very cause of the problem that we are complaining about.

“Residents who live close to one another and work in the same area could drive together. It may take some effort to arrange in the beginning, but once the pattern is established, it could easily become a habit. The more residents who buy into this idea, the fewer single occupancy cars we will have on the roads. What is more, it will save commuters a lot of money for fuel and it will save our environment because we will have less air pollution,” Herron says.

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