Every day, thousands of people of people set out on foot between Cape Town Station, the Long Distance Bus Terminus and the Civic Centre, and onward into central Cape Town. The numbers are increasing monthly, as the MyCiTi Inner City and TableView routes become more and more popular. And with the new MyCiTi cycle ways now passing between the Station and the Civic Centre, also en-route to the CBD, non-motorised transport (NMT) is set to soar.
With this in mind, and in line with the City of Cape Town’s ongoing programme of urban renewal and the Passenger Rail Agency of SA’s (PRASA) revitalisation of the Cape Town Station Precinct, there is a proposal to permanently close off the section of Old marine Drive before the turn-off into Civic Road. This is with the view to convert this section for the road into a public transport and NMT mall.
For some years now, the City has had a vision to create a more sustainable city by reducing the need for private transport. The promotion of public transport and NMT are recognised as key solutions, and areas with intense pedestrian concentration, such as public transport interchanges, tourist attractions and CBD areas should be prioritised.
‘A pedestrian plaza here would be one more way in which the City can give dignity to people who walk and cycle,’ says Elias Tukushe, Head: Non-Motorised Transport at the City. ‘Walking and cycling must be safe and convenient; these are modes of transport everyone uses, and deserve the same status that we give to motorised transport.’
Old Marine Drive is a key pedestrian link due to the intensity of surrounding public transport facilities and public amenities. So it is proposed that other than pedestrians and commuters, only long distance buses, meter taxis and vehicles needing access to the properties along this section be allowed access to the NMT mall. Collapsible bollards will ensure that emergency vehicles have unrestricted access.
A feasibility study has already been conducted, which considered ways in which the road closure could take place with minimum traffic disruption and re-distribution.
As part of a transparent and consultative process, the City invited members of the public to attend a meeting to discuss this proposed closure, raise any issues and concerns and contribute to a better safer and more citizen-friendly CBD precinct development. At the meeting (on 4 July 2011), stakeholders raised concerns about the removal of parking and the possible increase in illegal parking: 22 short-term parking bays outside the Civic would be removed, although the remaining 253 parking bays in the area would remain undisturbed.
The ease of movement through the traffic circles and intersections, which could become more congested as a result of the road closure and the MyCiTi busways, was also a concern. Others called for more integrated transport and walking/cycling planning overall – with a concern that this proposal is merely scratching the surface. ‘Unless the entire precinct, in other words the IRT station, Cape Town Station, Long Distance Bus terminus and other transport facilities are considered as a HUB and an appropriate vision is put in place, this merely becomes a sporadic convergence of various public transport options,’ said Future Cape Town.
For more information or to submit your comments, please contact Gail Lomberg at Sakaza communications, on 021 701 1900, fax 021 703 1920, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.