Author Archives: Long Street Residents' Association (LSRA)

Long Street side lane closures / privatisation

A local newspaper is doing an article on side lane closures in Long Street. If this is of interest to you, and if you have thoughts or ideas on these developments, please can you provide feedback to the questions below:

  1. Who is the person(s) responsible for the closures of lanes in Long Street?
  2. How do you feel about these closure?
  3. What would you like to see happening with regards to potentially closing Vredenburg Lane
  4. How have you engaged with other relevant stakeholders (eg the City, SAPS, CCID, etc) around this matter?
  5. If you have, what has the feedback been from these bodies and has any discussion with them yielded any results (Whether positive or negative)?
  6. Do you know who was responsible for the closure of the other Long Street lanes (Orphan and the lane one adjacent to Clarke’s)?
  7. Do you have have any concerns around these closures? If so, what are there?
  8. Do these closures portend a possible trend? If so, what are the possible positives of such a trend and what are the negatives?
  9. What value does having accessible lanes add to Long Street?
  10. Any other comments you wish to make?

Liquor license applications for public comment

1. Extended liquor trading hours from 02:00 – 04:00am

a) Stones Long Street
b) Baghdad Cafe 190 Long Street
c) Seasons Music Boutique 22 Bree Street

2. Liquor licence applications from 11:00 – 02:00am

a) La Cremerie The French Market
b) Young Blood 70-72 Bree Street
c) Scar 22 Kloof Street
d) Lido Night Club 13 Prestwich Street Cape
e) Cubana Green Point
f) Plaza Espana 71-75 Kloof Road
h) Crovettos 72 Wales Street
i) Best African Food Restaurant in Town 68 Plein Street
j) Matsuri 32 Prestwich Street

Criteria for NOT granting licence:

a) public interest
b) applicant is of good character, and not disqualified from holding a licence under section 35
c) premises are suitable for use and purpose
d) residents of residential area
e) educational institution under the age of 18yrs
f) patients of drug or alcohol related treatment centre
g) religious institution

If you have any questions or objections, please email the LSRA on info@lsra.co.za by the 23rd/24th January 2014

Communities have been asked to report incidents of bad policing

From the Cape Argus, edited by Tamsin Wort
, 4th October 2013

CAPE TOWN – Despite the prevalence of CCTV cameras, foot patrols and a private-public crime-fighting partnership statistics show that robberies, burglaries and drug-related crimes have increased in the Cape Town CBD.

The police’s crime statistics show a 36 percent increase in business break-ins and a 12 percent rise in aggravated robberies reported to the Cape Town Central Police Station during the past financial year. City of Cape Town officials say they are reviewing their crime strategies in the city bowl and have called an urgent meeting to look into the issue.

There are 92 CCTV cameras in the city bowl and an average of 70 foot officers deployed to the area by the Central City Improvement District. Despite these interventions, burglaries, muggings and drug-related crimes remain a problem.The city’s JP Smith says Long Street is one of the hot spots they have identified.

“We have a problem with muggings, especially when people become inebriated. Once people have had a few drinks too may the muggers have a much easier prey on Long Street.” Western Cape Community Safety MEC Dan Plato says, “We have asked that the police increase their visibility in these hot spot areas.” Officials say a series of undercover operations will be carried out in an attempt to get a handle on the city’s drug problem.

Meanwhile, the Western Cape Community Safety Department has launched a new SMS line in a bid to get more feedback from people about policing in the province. Communities have been asked to report incidents of bad policing as well as provide positive feedback using the SMS line, 35395.

Copyright Primedia (Pty) Ltd

“Don’t ask me, ask them!” the cop snapped back

From the Business Day Live, by Sipho Hlongwane
, 1st October 2013

THERE is a certain amount of seediness that one is willing to accept from Long Street in Cape Town. This after all is a street lined with grungy bars and nightclubs, and some that do not even make that much of an effort.

Walking down the street at night is to walk a gauntlet of grimy puddles, drunk and drugged revellers, tinny music, aggressive beggars and offending smells. But that is the charm of it. The fun is unvarnished. The promise of danger looms heavier than the famous mountain just over yonder.

But one does not expect to walk into a riot on the street. One certainly does not expect it to escalate and then ebb all on its own, in full view of a handful of police officer. But that was my Sunday morning. And I am profoundly disturbed by the indifference of it. The whole thing was too big and too violent to have died away without any attention from the greater public, whether it be in the press, or the City of Cape Town’s response.

It is difficult — pointless, even — to recreate the events in the dry tones of journalism. It is not like I arrived after the fact, ready with my notepad and pen to extract facts from authorities and bystanders. I saw it happen. I spent perhaps an hour with my girlfriend comforting and marshalling shocked and injured bystanders. I was as much a part of the scene as I was an observer.

I could not tell you how it started. We arrived on the scene walking in a north-easterly direction towards our hotel in the early hours of Sunday after a night spent revelling in an avant-garde theatre performance. The first sign of trouble was a section of the sidewalk that was blocked off with police tape.

There were perhaps three ambulances and two police cars, and I remember seeing three men lying on the ground. One was about to be lifted into an ambulance, and was shirtless. He had three big wounds in his back. The other two were being attended to by the paramedics on the ground. Something big had clearly just happened.

These were young boys, no older than 20. On the side of the street that we were on, there was a big group of boys of a similar age, milling about anxiously and occasionally shouting at the handful of police who were there. I can only understand so much Xhosa, but they were angry.

Suddenly, that same group — moving as if they were one — took off at a terrific pace around the block. That speed is employed in two occasions: when people are running away, or running toward something terrible. I had to follow. I sincerely wish I had not.

As I rounded the corner, having run fast enough to catch up with the tailend of the group, I saw two (maybe three) men surrounded by this group that I had followed. A torrent of punches was raining down on them. They were both crouched in the foetal position, but under such a hail of blows, it was not helping. Then someone took out a knife, and the last I saw of that scene was the convulsions of one back as it went into it. I could not see anymore because I had hands on me. My assailants were barking furiously in my face. Who was I? Was I of this group, or that?

This was a gang thing. I summoned every last scrap of breath to shout back that I was media. It took two or three roars for the message to sink in. They eventually thrust me aside. I ran back to Long Street. The scene had somehow worsened. For a moment it was absolute pandemonium. People were running in every direction, and in practically everywhere direction I looked, someone was being assaulted.

The only oasis of calm was a small collection of police in the middle of the street.

I rushed over to ask what happened. “Don’t ask me, ask them!” the cop snapped back. I do not believe I was truly frightened until that moment. They seemed to believe that their only task in such a situation was to direct traffic around the cordoned off area. This was going to get very bad.

I found another group of angry rioters, and asked them what happened. One of the more naive ones replied and said that they were a school group from Nyanga who had come to Long Street to celebrate, something, and had all been partying well enough when they noticed one of “their” group members being assaulted by someone belonging to another, and decided to get involved. Then it just went all over the place.

I went to another group and asked the same thing. They would not say a thing to me. Then I recognised their faces. This was the same group that was about to commit grievous violence on me just moments before.

We decided to walk away. We went for the delicious Asian food that Long St specialises in and walked into find another group of people in distress. This was different. For one thing, there was a white girl with them and she was in shock. Her friends were crying. They turned out to be tourists from Pretoria who had come to Cape Town to visit, and the white girl had been mugged. The police, seeing her black friends trying to comfort her, immediately assumed she was being mugged and tried to intervene. No amount of explaining helped, and who knows what would have happened if we had not arrived and intervened? What incompetence. What infuriating stupidity. Why are they so good at making a bad situation worse?

After collecting our food, with the riot continuing unabated outside, we walked further up the road to our hotel. We found yet another group of tourists who were caught up, either by getting assaulted or robbed. They were from some European country — I forget which — and were so immobilised with fear and trauma that we had to repeatedly ask them to get off the street and to safety before they would move.

Our hotel room overlooked Long Street, and from the safety of height, watched the event unfold. I do not think I saw more than 10 police on the scene. I think there were about 150 people on the street at any point, and most were angry young men. This was a riot.

Dawn was approaching at this point. Taxis were pulling up, and some of these people were getting in. Some were injured. Some tried to clamber onto the outsides of the departing taxis, and were getting hauled off by assailants or police. It was all a bit too traumatic for me. I watched football on the iPad to calm myself, and went to sleep.

Do we care that this happened? Aside from the drama, I mean. Does it mean anything that I observed violence everywhere when I was just on a night out in Cape Town? I did not see any news coverage at all. I certainly did not see enough law enforcement to calm the situation quickly enough to save people.

I can deal with the indifference of the police and I saw enough of it in Marikana to last me several lifetimes, but it blows my mind that — apparently — Long Street gets ragged to this degree and it can pass for just another incident that we will quickly forget about. It is not that tourists and pretty white girls (hello media, this is where you step in, right?) got hurt. It is the fact that we can accept this as normal lived experience and be okay with that.

For a moment, Long Street was the setting for the kind of violence that goes on in Cape Town’s townships and slums daily. This after all is the most dangerous city in the country with one of the worst murder and assault rates in the world, but it all happens out there, doesn’t it?

It is not good enough to shrug and say, “Long Street, hey” and move on. I am furious with the police who did not care and the journalists who did not turn up to cover this, and the bystanders who shrugged and walked by. But to properly interrogate what happened on Sunday would require us to give a damn about what happens “out there in the Cape Flats”, wouldn’t it?

And we wonder why our social problems are seemingly intractable.

Copyright BDFM Publishers

Talking Streets on Long Street

You are invited to join Open Streets in a public walk and discussion about how Long Street can be made safer, welcoming, inclusive, and more ‘open’ to people.

When:

Thursday 5th September, 2013 from 13:00 to 14:00
Saturday 7th September from 18:00 to 19:30

Where:

Corner of Long St. & Orange St. (in front of the Long Street Turkish Baths). The walk will be down Long Street and carried out to observe the different conditions during the day and after dark.

What:

Open Streets Cape Town will facilitate a conversation with residents and the public to explore challenges and opportunities to make Long Street a more diversified, safe and attractive destination so that any changes on the street respond to needs and objectives of residents and other relevant businesses. This will be the beginning of a series of walks that will help identify specific design components, planning parameters and avenues for community participation for short and long term changes.

Councillor Dave Bryant will be present to hear and respond to raised concerns. The format will be an open discussion where you will have an opportunity to contribute your ideas, questions and concerns. Suggestions compiled during this walk will be documented and disseminated to create greater awareness of how streets can better serve residents and businesses, and to encourage the participation of all who use the streets.

There is a 25 guest limit; please register to ensure your spot on the details below.

Contact

info@openstreets.co.za | @OpenstreetsCT | +27722146736 | Open Streets is a citizen-led initiative working to actively change the ways streets are used, perceived and experienced. www.openstreets.co.za

Creating a pedestrian-friendly zone in Long Street is not a new idea

From the Peoples Post, by Nicole McCain, 27th August 2013

After the Good Hope Subcouncil accepted a motion from ward councillor Dave Bryant to make a section of Long Street a pedestrian friendly zone, some, with previous failed attempts in mind, are asking if the idea will this time get off the ground. The proposal suggests closing the section between Wale and Watson streets, allowing only delivery vehicles, emergency vehicles and MyCiTi buses to travel this stretch.

Almost eight years ago, property development firm Indigo Properties funded a proposal to close the street over the weekend through drop down booms in an attempt to create a nightlife hub. However, this was never approved by the City of Cape Town, after an investment of thousands of Rands by Indigo and the approval of the property owners. Former ward councillor Belinda Walker did not disagree with the proposal but says she was concerned about the impact the pedestrianising of Long Street would have on traffic. “It is important to note that this proposal was received long before the MyCiTi bus system was conceptualised,” she says.

Two years ago, rumours surfaced that the road would be closed off, but at the time council had not received any proposals. At the time, the Long Street Residents’ Association did a survey of its members. The survey found residents were evenly divided on the matter, and residents still remain so. “I doubt it will happen,” says Long Street pedestrian Matthew Tyler. “It’s a busy road and it would be nice, but it will just attract more problems. Having more tourists in the area will attract issues like drug dealing and begging.”

Indigo Properties still strongly supports the pedestrianisation, says spokesperson Daisy Dickinson. “We feel strongly that it will enhance the patron experience in the area, improve road crossing safety due to decreased traffic congestion and enhance foot traffic which will therefore have a positive effect on the businesses in the area. We feel it would have an immensely positive impact on the area, businesses and ultimately the tourism industry of Cape Town as a whole,” she says.

Long Street resident Randall Wyngaard is also in favour of the pedestrianisation. “Having traffic takes away from the air of the place. It would allow shops to display their goods on the pavement. It’s nice to walk down the street. You don’t need cars here.” However, he has his doubts that the new form of public transport is the solution. “MyCiTi buses is not a factor. It doesn’t alleviate the congestion, it just causes more.” Byron Qually, the association’s chairperson, says the discussion around closing the road to vehicles has been going on for some time. He says the closure has never taken place because the “issue becomes quite polarised”.

However, Bryant believes this is the right time to introduce the pedestrian zone. “The central city is constantly changing and improving. There have also been many significant shifts in the urban environment as a result of refurbishments done in the run up to the 2010 World Cup,” he says. “Waterkant Street and St George’s Mall were certainly much more ambitious proposals and they have worked incredibly well.” The MyCiTi bus system has also made the motion more feasible, Bryant says.

“The roll out of the MyCiTi bus system over the past few years has also changed the way that we use the central city. There is now a MyCiTi route running down Long Street and there has been a steady increase in the number of people using bicycles and skateboards to get around town. This combined with all the other vehicular traffic is creating an extremely dense thoroughfare at the top of Long Street.” The motions will now be considered by the transport department for further comments. If these are positive, says Bryant, a plan will be put together for public comment.

“In the meantime the possibility exists for one or two temporary closures either in evenings or over weekends,” he says.

Copyright The People’s Post, Media24

Long Street to be paved?

From the Cape Argus, by Anél Lewis
, 20th August 2013

Cape Town – Bustling Long Street may soon become a pedestrian’s paradise if the City of Cape Town approves a proposal to close off a substantial section of the road to general traffic. The Good Hope Subcouncil, that includes the CBD, has approved a motion to turn the top half of Long Street from Watson Street to Wale Street into a permanent “fan walk”.

Councillor Dave Bryant, who made the proposal, said service delivery vehicles would still have access during set hours, and emergency vehicles and the MyCiTi buses would still be able to drive along the road. “It has been looked at a number of times. The central city is changing every day with new businesses opening, improved public transport and more pedestrians.” In his explanation to the sub-council, Bryant said it was becoming increasingly difficult for law enforcement to take action against vehicles that blocked traffic in Long Street.

The police had complained that their law enforcement activities were being affected by delivery vehicles and stationary cars. “This is combined with a very large number of pedestrians who mingle in and out of the traffic. In the evenings the pedestrians are inebriated which makes the situation even more dangerous.” Bryant said he was aware of concerns that the street was used by many vehicles, including those doing deliveries, so there would be a dedicated lane for those, as in St George’s Mall. Bryant said there was “overwhelming” sentiment from law enforcement agencies, community organisations and others to restrict vehicle access in this section of Long Street.

Tasso Evangelinos, chief operating officer of the Central City Improvement District, said: “The effect it will have on making the central city more pedestrian-friendly would be an extremely positive move.” He said the continued access for MyCiTi buses would further promote public transport. “As far as we know, the idea has been on the cards in one form or another since the 2010 World Cup, when the whole of Cape Town saw the enormous success of road closures that created amazing public spaces through which people moved freely and safely.” But he added that by closing off the road, the city would be creating a new public space that would need to be properly managed. “The resources therefore must be provided to ensure a clean, safe and secure environment.”

Most of the activity in Long Street, already established as an entertainment destination, was managed indoors and usually between the hours of 11pm and 4am. “… this activity may now well spill out onto the streets, so adequate resources to manage this will be critical in terms of keeping people safe, cleaning the area after each night’s activities and enforcing the laws and by-laws.”

Two years ago the Long Street Residents’ Association did a survey of its members. Although most supported the idea, many were concerned that patrons of nightspots would spill on to the street, treating the area as an “open-air nightclub”. A Bree Street resident said closing a major arterial road such as Long Street would exacerbate traffic congestion in the city. It was suggested that vehicle access be limited to certain hours. The proposal will now be referred to the executive directors of transport, economic development, environment and spatial planning and safety and security.

One of the recommendations is that “from the outset” the process of deciding on Long Street’s access will include input and participation from the local community and those who will be affected.

Copyright The Cape Argus

How should Long Street be pedestrianised?

The question on how Long Street should be pedestrianised has again been raised. Whereas before it came from the private sector, this time it appears to be local government who is exploring the idea. If you would like to be part of the conversation and have your thoughts included in the People’s Post Newspaper, please provide feedback on the questions below to Nicole McCain of the People’s Post (Journalist) on 021 910 6500 / 084 738 9977 and nicole.mccain@peoplespost.co.za

Note that all responses should be provided by 15:00 on Thursday 22 August to accommodate deadlines.

1. Are you in favour of the pedestrianisation of Long Street, and why?
2. What challenges do you currently experience as a resident of Long Street?
3. What concerns does the possible pedestrianisation of Long Street raise for you?
4. What form would you like to see the pedestrianisation take?
5. Do you feel you have been engaged in public discussions on the pedestrianisation?

City to invite public comment on proposed new liquor by-law

The City may adopt an entirely new by-law for controlling the sale of liquor in Cape Town, in order to better address concerns about the existing by-law which have been raised by residents and businesses. Read more below:

As part of our commitment to building an Opportunity City, the City of Cape Town seeks to consistently take heed of our residents’ concerns. The by-laws of the City are living documents and the City must respond to changes in the social and economic environment where appropriate.

As such, the City’s Economic, Environmental and Spatial Planning (EESP) Portfolio Committee today, 13 August 2013, considered proposed amendments to the City’s existing Liquor Trading Days and Hours By-law that could pave the way for the consideration and adoption of a new by-law. This new by-law would be known as: the Control of Undertakings that Sell Liquor to the Public By-law (2013).

The proposed amendments take into consideration input received during a first round of public participation which commenced in April and ended on 20 May 2013; as well as input from a multi-disciplinary Technical Team that reconsidered a number of aspects of the existing by-law. The proposed amendments have a significant impact on the current Liquor Trading Days and Hours By-law. This might make it necessary to introduce a new, more comprehensive by-law, pending the outcome of a public participation process.

The proposed new by-law will therefore undergo a thorough public participation process commencing in September 2013 for a 30-day period. The draft by-law will be made available for viewing at the City’s libraries and Subcouncil offices. Electronic copies will also be available on the City’s website, at www.capetown.gov.za/haveyoursay Interested parties are requested to please submit their comments in writing via one of the following channels:

  • Electronically, at www.capetown.gov.za/haveyoursay
  • Via e-mail to Liquor.bylaw@capetown.gov.za
  • By post to City of Cape Town, P.O. Box 298, Cape Town, 8000
  • Hand delivery to the Manager: Support and Services Coordination (Attention: Gavin van Schalkwyk), Strategic Support, 13th Floor, Tower Block, Civic Centre, Hertzog Boulevard
  • By fax to 021 400 4483

The new draft by-law, if it comes into effect, will be the product of a series of interactions with interested and affected parties, and will incorporate comments from members of the industry and the public that were received during the first round of public comments. It would also repeal all existing by-laws concerned with the sale of liquor. Further, the new by-law would be guided by a policy to assist with its implementation and administration as it applies to establishments that do business in formal and informal areas.

“The possible new by-law would aim to improve the City’s ability to regulate the sale of alcohol within its boundaries and will form an important component of pursuing a balanced approach to responding to the problem of high-risk alcohol use without causing job losses and threatening the local economy. The EESP Portfolio Committee also recommended that consideration be given for the development of an Integrated Strategy aimed at reducing irresponsible practices involving the sale and consumption of alcohol,” said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Economic, Environmental and Spatial Planning, Councillor Garreth Bloor.

Summary of the proposed new by-law

The proposed new by-law will allow for applications from licensed off-consumption businesses for the right to trade on Sundays and to extend their trading hours within certain limits. It also makes provision for licensed on-consumption businesses that are not in residential areas to apply for extended trading hours within certain limits. Other key issues of the proposed new draft by-law include:

  • The responsibility of on-consumption licensees to ensure that no alcohol is consumed on their premises beyond permitted selling times.
  • Suspension, amendment and revocation of the previous Trading Days and Hours approved by the City.
  • Seizure of liquor and temporary closure, including the prevention of the sale of liquor, by licensees.
  • Duties of licensees in respect of certain signage relating to zoning and permitted trading hours, safety and security, and nuisances

Issued by: Integrated Strategic Communication and Branding Department, City of Cape Town via CCID