Taking a wrong turn

2020-02-25 06:03
Taxi drivers and motorists blatantly disregard the traffic signs.PHOTO: kaylynne bantom

Taxi drivers and motorists blatantly disregard the traffic signs.PHOTO: kaylynne bantom

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“I’m too afraid of getting knocked over by a car or a taxi, so I stay inside.”

So says Marlene Eastern (73) from Aberdeen Street in Woodstock. Eastern, together with several other residents, claim that on weekdays during traffic peak hours their quiet street becomes like a highway. Eastern says every weekday, between 16:00 and 18:30, motorists and taxi drivers try to avoid the long traffic queues in Victoria Road by driving down Clyde Street and then into Aberdeen Street.

“Aberdeen Street is a one-way road. But these drivers don’t care, they come speeding down here, driving in the opposite direction,” explains Eastern.

Another resident from Clyde Street, Shahieda Ebrahim, says: “After 16:00, the children can hardly play outside. These motorists, especially the taxi drivers, are taking over our street and it’s wrong. We can sometimes not even pull out of our driveway.”

Richard Coleman, spokesperson for the City’s Traffic Service, says: “The city is aware of complaints about inconsiderate driving by some taxi operators. Traffic Service tries its utmost to patrol as many problem areas as possible. Unfortunately, it is virtually impossible to ensure a sustained presence in one hotspot area, due to the demands on the service and the fact that we simply do not have the resources to be present everywhere, all of the time.”

Coleman says that the City’s Ghost Squad has conducted numerous operations along Albert Road in Woodstock in the past month, following complaints from the public resulting in the arrest of 11 taxi drivers for reckless and negligent driving. In addition, 77 fines were issued for inconsiderate driving, unlicensed vehicles, unlicensed drivers, failure to wear safety belts, failure to display number plates and operating without a professional driving permit (PDP).

Resident Koelsum Hanief feels speed humps could help.

But Felicity Purchase, Mayco member for transport, says: “The investigation and approval of speed humps is guided by the City’s Traffic Calming Policy. This policy intends to protect the most vulnerable road users, where they occur in the largest numbers on a Class 4 Collector Street and/or Class 5 Local Street in a residential area in the vicinity of public facilities, with roads adjacent to and leading to schools being the primary focus of attention. This being the case, a systematic programme is in place for the treatment of all educational facilities over the next few years.”

Coleman adds that: “The City’s enforcement agencies conduct as much enforcement on the roads as resources allow. We have increased our taxi impounds year-on-year, but vehicles are simply reclaimed. We need stronger legislation that will allow for the permanent impoundment of the vehicles of repeat offenders, if we are to make any meaningful change on our roads.”

Dave Bryant, councillor for ward 115, says he is aware of these complaints. He encourages community members to report any transgressions to the traffic service on 021 596 1999.

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