R750m to lighten load on Cape’s roads

The City of Cape Town’s Council on Thursday committed R750 million over the next five years to address traffic congestion.

Council endorsed a Congestion Management Programme which sets out the expenditure, infrastructure projects and other interventions aimed at addressing traffic congestion in Cape Town over the next five financial years.

This followed the Congestion Summit hosted by Transport for Cape Town, the City’s transport authority, last month at which Cape Town Executive Mayor, Patricia de Lille, took the lead by committing an additional amount of R750 million for road infrastructure projects to alleviate the major pressure points in the city.

The City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Transport, Brett Herron, said: “The R750 million will be spent in accordance with the Congestion Management Programme which was approved by Council today. The programme prioritises the congestion points and specifies how the City will begin to address this – not only in terms of infrastructure, but also in terms of operations and behavioural change.”

The R750 million would be be spent as follows:

* R125 million in the next financial year (2016/17)

* R200 million in 2017/18

* R200 million in 2018/19

* R125 million in 2019/20 and

* R100 million in 2020/21

“We are aware that building our way out of congestion will not solve the problem in the long-term,” Herron said. “The only sustainable solution is to have significantly fewer private vehicles on our roads. However, as much as we want private vehicle owners to make use of public transport, we have to take into account that it will take some years to establish other reliable and attractive travel alternatives across the city to give people in private cars realistic choices – of which passenger rail is the most obvious.

“We have to add capacity to the existing road network to provide some form of relief in the severely congested areas of the city while we are working on establishing an efficient, affordable, extensive and intermodal public transport system.”

Earlier this year, Transport for Cape Town (TCT) conducted a congestion study which identified Blaauwberg, Kuils River and Kommetjie as the three growth areas in most need of intervention.

The Congestion Management Programme was subsequently initiated in August 2015 when council supported the allocation of R40 million in the current financial year (2015/16) as interim relief to kick-start projects in the abovementioned areas.

“Our information shows that commuters in the Kuils River, Kommetjie and Blaauwberg areas travel, on average, twice as long during the peak period compared with the off-peak period to reach their destinations. The peak period in these areas extends for three hours as compared with the two hours elsewhere in the city. These areas are therefore the first pressure points to be addressed by the City over the next five years.”

The City said the following infrastructure projects had been prioritised:

* Kuils River: Bottelary Road, Saxdowns Road, Amandel Road, Belhar Main Road, Erica Drive and Okavango Road

* Kommetjie: Kommetjie Road, Ou Kaapse Weg, Houmoed Avenue and an investigation into the feasibility of a shuttle service between Kommetjie and Fish Hoek

* Blaauwberg: Plattekloof Road (M13), Tygerberg Valley Road, Blaauwberg Road, Giel Basson Drive (M12), Sandown Road, Link Road, and Koeberg Road Extension

The cost of congestion to the city and those living and doing business was also immense.

Therefore the Congestion Management Programme also identifies the worst congested areas in relation to freight movement, business traffic and public transport services and as such the following roads are prioritised:

Jip de Jager Drive in Bellville

Broadway Boulevard in the Strand

Sir Lowry’s Pass Village Road in Gordon’s Bay

De Villiers Road in Durbanville

“The cost of congestion in terms of time and fuel to freight transport amounts to R142 million per year or 4,1% of the total annual cost to freight transporters,” Herron added.

“Furthermore, the average cost of congestion to those making use of private vehicles in terms of time and fuel is R1,266 per person per month, equating to 20% of their total monthly transport cost. For those making use of public transport modes in shared traffic, the cost of congestion is R854 per person per month, equalling 17% of the total cost of transport for those making use of public transport.

“Currently 17% of those in the low-income group make use of private vehicles; 40% of those in the low- to middle-income group; 81% of the middle- to high-income group; and 90% of the high-income group.

“Those among us relying exclusively on our private cars to get where we want to be must make a mind shift towards public transport and non-motorised transport such as walking and cycling where practical. As stated above, we cannot build our way out of congestion. We therefore need a behavioural change from our residents and businesses as well. The City cannot do it alone. The only sustainable solution is for us to work together – either by making use of public transport where we have access to it, by changing our working hours, or to work from home if we can.”

Source: iol

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