Cries to convert Queen Victoria Street in the Cape Town central business district into a one-way to alleviate congestion could finally become a reality.
Residents, business owners and interested parties are urged to submit their comments and proposals until Thursday 11 March.
For years motorists and businesses in the immediate vicinity have been complaining about the dangers posed by the busy and narrow street.
Last week, the City of Cape Town announced its plans and proposal to convert the street into a one-way from Wale Street. It is hoped that the plan would alleviate traffic congestion, accidents and confrontations among drivers.
Queen Victoria runs at the back of the Western Cape High Court, along the Company’s Gardens, the South African Museum and the Planetarium. Congestion and side-swipe accidents have been among the dozens of complaints received by the City over the years.
Eddie Mroxe, a car guard on this road for many years, says: “The road Queen Victoria is too small because the street is very busy, when one car comes from the one direction, the other driver will have to idle before they can pass because of the narrow road.”
He adds there have been numerous accidents, largely due to the limited space available to passing traffic when the on-street parking bays are filled.
Felicity Purchase, Mayco member for transport, says traffic engineers have done preliminary investigations and considered various solutions. “The most feasible and easy to implement is the proposal to turn Queen Victoria Street into a one-way, from Wale Street all the way towards the mountain where it intersects with Orange Street. Traffic flow will be improved, we will see fewer accidents as there won’t be conflict between vehicles from different directions, and pedestrians will be safer given that they will only need to negotiate traffic coming from one direction.”
Nicolette Nunes, office manager at the Cape Town Heritage Trust, a company based in Gardens, welcomes the proposal.
“We make use of Queen Victoria Street and over the years we’ve seen tremendous congestion with it being a two-way street. When the red tour buses come up as well as the buses that bring kids to the museums, it’s just been terribly chaotic. I have been stuck in congestion here for about 10 minutes or more just waiting for these buses to come through.”
Purchase says the choice of direction for the proposed one-way street is based on the following:
- Bus stops are located on the left-hand side of Queen Victoria Street when travelling towards Orange Street. Thus, by turning it into a one-way street, pedestrian safety will be improved as commuters will have near-side boarding and alighting facilities, and would not need to cross the busy street.
- Road safety will be improved as traffic along Orange Street heading towards Buitengracht will not be permitted to turn right into Queen Victoria Street.
Purchase adds: “We have also investigated the possible impact this proposal may have on signalised intersections in the area, taking diverted traffic into account. From our analysis, the additional traffic can be accommodated with changes to the timing of signals along the affected routes.”
Purchase says the transport directorate will consider all proposals and comments, and will make a recommendation to council who must consider the proposal, together with a report on the comments received during the public participation period.