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City makes it easier to calm traffic in residential areas

City makes it easier to calm traffic in residential areas

The City of Cape Town has approved a revised Traffic Calming Policy that states that the safety of people (whether walking or cycling) in residential areas is paramount and takes precedence over vehicle mobility. Pedestrians and accidents have always been considered in the assessments but are now weighted more heavily. For example, the number of pedestrians and cyclists, as well as previous occurrences of vehicle accidents on a particular street, will now lend even greater weight to the consideration of traffic calming measures.

In addition, the existence of a parallel minor road to which traffic may be diverted is no longer a specific criterion in the assessment of applications.

Traffic volumes, the existence of sidewalks and/or driveways, parking, speed and public amenities also play a role in the decision to implement traffic calming measures. If the speed of 15% of vehicles is equal to or higher than the applicable speed limit or a speed appropriate to the environment as determined by a traffic engineer, then traffic calming measures will also be considered.

‘Residential and commercial precincts with high pedestrian use should be people-focused,’ says Counsillor Brett Herron Mayoral Committee Member: Transport, Roads & Stormwater. ‘But a culture of speeding and reckless driving threatens the safety, security and urban environment of residential and some commercial areas. Vulnerable road users, particularly learners, the elderly and cyclists, are at risk from such behaviour.’

Ensuring the safety of all road users requires a multi-disciplinary approach – engineering, enforcement and education. This policy addresses only the use of remedial engineering measures (traffic calming measures) on existing streets, and seeks to remedy a potentially unsafe situation caused by ineffective road design, reckless driving and inadequate levels of traffic law enforcement.

‘We recognise that City’s traffic law enforcement currently operates and will in the short term continue to operate below optimum levels,’ says Cllr Herron. ‘This status affects the performance of an effective enforcement role on most residential streets and leads to greater reliance and emphasis on engineering solutions to safety issues on residential streets.’

Traffic calming measures will be prioritised according to:
•        Proximity to amenities such as creches, schools, children’s homes, libraries
•        Proximity to amenities such as clinics, sport stadiums, public transport interchanges,
•        municipal cash halls, retirement homes, places of worship, shopping centers and places of entertainment
•        History of vehicle accidents in the last two years
•        History of excessive speeding
•        Excessive extraneous traffic
•        Dangerous conditions resulting from non-compliance to traffic regulations
•        The role the project plays in an area traffic management plan

“Some thirty years ago, the first “Ride-In” (which has since become the annual Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour) took place to bring the need for safe cycling to the attention of the authorities. It has been a long battle since then, and the Pedal Power Association is pleased that the City has recognised the need for safer communities by introducing these new measures,” said PPA’s current chairman, Steve Hayward. “This announcement, as well as the  NMT and bicycle paths the City is rolling out, indicates that the City has heeded our pleas and is going all-out to recognise Cape Town as Africa’s cycling capital.”

For more information, see the article published by Martin Pollack, on the City of Cape Town’s website