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Cape Town traffic jams ‘unavoidable’

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Congestion on Cape Town’s roads is unlikely to be completely alleviated, despite the city council’s plans to spend R750 million on road upgrades over the next five years.

Transport for Cape Town (TCT) says this is because of the rate at which the city is growing, exacerbated by the inadequate provision of public transport.

According to TCT’s latest bi-annual congestion management progress report, the under-investment in expansion of the primary road network infrastructure in recent years is the main contributor to the congestion commuters are experiencing on the city’s roads.

“While TCT is working towards a sustainable public transport system, there are many parts of the city that will not enjoy the benefit of an Integrated Rapid Transit (priority bus lanes) for many years,” said a progress report to the council’s transport portfolio committee.

Congestion strategy

A “congestion management strategy” is due for completion later this month, that will quantify whether allocated expenditure for the “congestion management programme”, is enough.

Cape Town was named the most congested city in South Africa in a recent survey by Tom Tom.

A congestion study by the council identified Blaauwberg, Kuils River and Kommetjie as the three growth areas which need attention. An initial R40m was allocated for congestion alleviation last year, and a further R118.5m is due to be spent in the 2016/17 financial year.

TCT is preparing a list of congested locations, to identify other locations that need to be prioritised. Major roadworks are currently under way on the R300/Bottelary Interchange, while the design work for further phases of construction on Amandel Road in Kuils River are under way.

The start of roadworks in the north of the city on Plattekloof Road and Jip De Jager can also be expected this month, while construction on Kommetjie Road, Ou Kaapseweg and Noordhoek Main Road is set to start next month.

“It is impossible to build our way out of congestion, since this will attract more vehicles and is not sustainable.

“The congestion management programme will however provide a measure of relief in some of the severely congested areas of Cape Town’s road network, as well as ensure there are balanced operational and behavioural interventions that enable sustainability,” said the report.

Growth areas

TCT said the major growth areas in the city would continue to add more private vehicles to the road network. Relying on developers for road extensions and capacity improvements was not the answer to dealing with the increased vehicular movement.

TCT said by improving the road network in areas not served by IRT or rail, it would assist the movement of public transport vehicles travelling in mixed traffic. However, in the long run, it was imperative that there was a mind-shift among high-income commuters away from the reliance on private motor vehicles.

This would, however, only happen if commuters had access to reliable and attractive alternatives. The report is yet to be discussed by the portfolio committee, with several meetings suspended unless for urgent business, until after the August 3 elections.

[Source: Cape Argus]
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