On Monday 24 November, the South Road Families Association (SRFA), the Wynberg Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association (WRRA) and the East and West Wynberg Transport Associations handed over a memorandum to the City of Cape Town calling for a moratorium on the development of the South Road/Brodie Road couplet section of the Lansdowne/Wetton Corridor.
We further requested an immediate moratorium on the eviction notices issued to the 30 South Road families, the setting up of an inclusive task team comprising all interested and affected parties, and the consideration of the Wetton Road and the Rosmead Avenue/Broad Road Corridors as viable alternatives to the South Road/Brodie Road couplet. These alternatives are supported by the entire, united Wynberg community and transport industry.
Upon reading Cllr Brett Herron’s statement dated 20 November 2014, we find that the City’s plans for Wynberg are based on faulty logic and out-of date, inaccurate information, while some questionable assertions are made.
FAULTY LOGIC AND INACCURATE INFORMATION
Cllr Herron appears not to have seen the Brodie Road couplet contained in the City’s tender advertised on 5 September (and closed on 28 October) under no. 59C/2014/15: “Provision of professional services in respect of the design & construction of Phase 2A infrastructure: truck and feeder support Infrastructure (East & West)”. He claims in his statement that the Brodie Road couplet will not have as big an impact on Wynberg as the proclaimed bypass scheme.
Yet, according to the maps that form part of the tender document, the Brodie Road couplet follows closely the route of the proclaimed Wynberg bypass PMR5 (but starts at Langley Road rather than Constantia Road in the south). This means that (contrary to Cllr Herron’s statement) the Brodie Road couplet will have some of the same impacts as the PMR5, i.e. it will:
- Segregate the library and associated parking areas from the core of the Wynberg CBD.
- Lead to the destruction of historical buildings, including century-old cottages in a designated urban conservation area.
- Remove passing trade from Main Road, as Main Road will become one way between Wetton Road and Kemms Road.
Incidentally, the Wynberg bypass scheme PMR5 does not affect Main Road – that is the Main Road widening scheme no. 643.
Cllr Herron also states that “the couplet will improve pedestrian safety as pedestrians will face traffic that is coming from one direction only” but omits to mention that pedestrians will have to cross two lanes of fast-moving traffic flowing in the same direction. He stressed in his presentation that the roads would be built to achieve significant speed.
He claims that the Brodie Road couplet scheme will increase the commercial strip west of Main Road, whereas the reality is the new road will cause incalculable damage to residential fabric in a designated urban conservation area. An island will be created between the new road and Main Road, bringing commercial development closer to the established residential fabric and increasing the risk of creeping commercialism into the neighbourhood, in particular the Old Wynberg Village.
His statement also contains some questionable assertions:
- The concept plan is still at an early stage in the planning process. If this is the case, how can the City advertise a tender for the design and construction of the roads, including the Brodie Road couplet that is not yet proclaimed.
- The couplet is an unprecedented transport solution to ignite the urban renewal of the Wynberg CBD. There is no evidence to support this claim. The couplet scheme was developed based on urban studies done in the late 1990s, prior to the establishment of the Wynberg Improvement District (WID) in 2000. Since then, the Wynberg CBD has transformed, with increased security and cleaning, and many new developments, such as Riverstone Mall, Home Choice, Pick n Pay and McDonalds. Furthermore, many businesses in the Wynberg CBD have been in existence for over 30 years and are still going strong. Of course challenges along Main Road remain, but most of these can be resolved through improved traffic management, not by turning Main Road one way.
- Congestion is due to the lack of streamlined, efficient public transport. The congestion is due to poor traffic management along Main Road and is no worse than other parts of Main Road. The City’s own Area Transport Plan for Wynberg states that traffic volumes have increased by just 7% in the last 22 years. The proposed scheme does nothing to alleviate the hot-spots e.g. the Riverstone Road/Brodie Road intersection.
- Streamlined, efficient public transport will reduce rat races and speeding. The plan for one-way dual carriageway will increase, not reduce, the speed of traffic going through the suburb, both along Main Road and the proposed Brodie Road couplet. Research shows that more roads means more traffic, which will only increase the number of vehicles using the off-roads on the western side as rat runs, in particular Church Street, Piers Road and Wellington/Durban Road, which are roads of high pedestrian activity.
INVITATION TO ENGAGE WITH THE COMMUNITY
We invite the city to engage meaningfully with the community to find a solution that benefits businesses and residents, as well as shoppers and visitors to Wynberg.
We welcome the roll-out of the MyCiti to Wynberg, recognising that improved public transport will play an essential role in addressing the spatial and socioeconomic inheritance in Cape Town. However, the South Road/Brodie Road couplet scheme does nothing to overcome the predominance of vehicle-oriented city growth or encourage commuters to shift to public transport. The roads will be open to all traffic, not just MyCiti bus and do not connect to the public transport interchanges, which is one of the characteristics of an integrated rapid transit (IRT) route.
We believe that there are far more viable options for the MyCiTi bus route that will use existing road space, link to the existing public transport interchanges, and not destroy established communities and businesses. Nowhere else in Cape Town has the BRT required the building of new roads through well-functioning residential areas and the demolition of houses. It is incomprehensible why this should be the plan for Wynberg.
To find out more, go to: https://wynbergresidents.wordpress.com/reliefmyciti-bus-route/
Issued by: the SRFA, the WRRA and the East and West Wynberg Transport Associations.
Media enquiries: Kristina Davidson, WRRA Chairperson 021 762 8769 or 0721744673 email: firstname.lastname@example.org (please copy email@example.com)