Tag Archives: Pedestrianisation

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?

Lawyers start circling local government …

From the CapeTowner, by Monique Duval, 29th November 2012

Residents and businesses in the central city have been asked to “play nice” and be “good neighbours” during the festive season as resources are limited. Brandon Golding, chairman of the Cape Town Community Police Forum (CPF) said this at a police imbizo held at the Cape Sun, last week . “So we have to work smarter, be good neighbours and the community needs to report suspicious behaviour,” he said.

Central City Improvement District (CCID) security manager, Muneeb Hendricks said they were also preparing for the festive season by installing incident mapping systems and cameras on the mobile kiosks around the city. Daniel Rezant from the City Film and permit office said of the 208 events which will be held across Cape Town, 28 were planned for the CBD and the biggest is the switching on of the festive lights which takes place on Sunday December 2. Several roads surround the Grand Parade will be closed and officials are expecting 40 000 people to attend. “There is also the Harrington Square block party on Friday December 7 and the summer market at the Company’s Garden,” Mr Rezant said.

The issues surrounding tables and chairs took centre stage when John Davidson, the owner of Bob’s Bar said establishments in Long Street were still being fined. Following a meeting between police, the CPF, ward councillor Dave Bryant and bar owners in Long Street an agreement was reached to wait for the City to get legal opinion on the permit system before any further action was taken. However, Mr Davidson said this was not the case as police officers continued to fine establishments that serve alcohol to the outside tables. “We all need to know what is going on as we cannot operate our businesses on a shoestring. Police officers keep passing the buck, but we cannot go on like this,” Mr Davidson said. After making a phone call, Mr Golding said he had confirmation from the Cape Town CPF Cluster head, Peter Mead, that while ordinary liquor checks will be taking place, establishments would not be fined for outside tables. “We have confirmed that the normal liquor checks regarding licences are taking place in Long Street but police officers will not be fining establishments for outside tables,” Mr Golding said.

Noise complaints in Long Street also took centre stage when labour lawyer Michael Bagraim questioned Mr Hendricks about noise pollution in the area. “I represent a group of hotels on the upper end of Long Street and over the past three months, the noise situation has worsened. “We have found that it is particularly bad between 11pm and 3pm and with the festive season coming up, I want to know what you are doing about it,” Mr Bagraim asked. Mr Hendricks said the CCID security officers had no jurisdiction to take action against noisy clubs, instead they ask them to turn it down. “The correct channel is the City of Cape Town inspectors and they can now confiscate the clubs’ sound equipment,” Mr Hendricks said. Norbert Furnon-Roberts said the possible pedestrianisation of Long Street could help with noise issues.

Geoff Madsen, developer of Flatrock Suites and Janis Ross of Maremoto agree with Mr Bagraim. In a seperate interview, Mr Madsen said while some club owners co-operated many made no effort. “At Flatrock Suites, we have many people who are selling their apartments because of the noise and many of them are selling below the market price. “The value of the building has dropped by more than 27%. I have raised my concerns, but have been told that because we live in the city we have to put up with it and that it goes against the development of the city,” Mr Madsen said.

Ms Ross said after spending an evening at her boutique hotel on Saturday November 24, she believed the situation was worsening. “The noise levels were the usual bass, boom boom sounds getting louder as the night progressed. “However, the major problem was at about 4.30am when I was woken up by the hooting of taxis spread right across the road and backed up solidly from the Urban Chic Hotel to the Long Street baths. “This lasted for about 30 minutes. This could and should be avoided as the noise levels are unacceptable. “There must be policing and law enforcement during these times to eliminate this harassment urgently.

“The noise in Long Street has worsened due to a lack of enforcement of sound levels and the behaviour of bar patrons and owners,” she said. Ms Ross said the noise had a negative impact on her business as people no longer booked into the hotel and said tourists only stayed for a few days. Byron Qually, convenor of the Long Street Residents’ Association (LSRA), said thanks to Mr Madsen who helped connect night club owners and residents at the top of Long Street, there has been some improvement. “The owners of Marvel and Cafe Royale have responded to residential concerns and reduced their noise footprint. Unfortunately noise concerns are still very much part of the rest of the Long Street community,” he said.

He said the association had raised their concerns with Mr Bryant who said he sympathised with the LSRA concerns regarding noise. “Unfortunately the extent of resolution appears stop there. “For example at a meeting requested by the LSRA in April 2011 and organised by the City, it was minuted that Mr Bryant would provide feedback on ‘Exploring the option of a full time and dedicated sound task team, who are trained and authorised to intervene in noise disputes when they occur at night’. “Minutes were sent to him, and have been publicly displayed on the LSRA website. “We have had absolutely no feedback from him regarding this request. “Similarly, when a noise dispute occurs on the weekend and he is called for advice on how to resolve it, only a voice message option is available,” he said. Mr Qually said while pedestrianising of the street, may help resolve pollution from car sound systems, it was unlikely to resolve the night-club sound pollution.

Copyright Cape Community Newspapers, part of Independent News and Media.

A majority seemed to favour pedestrianising the street between …

From the CapeTowner, by Monique Duval, 27th October 2011

The iconic Long Street may be permanently pedestrianised. In September, residents and businesses started to tweet about the possibility and the Long Street Residents’ Association (LSRA) subsequently sent out a survey to find out what residents thought. According to the survey, which 17 people completed, just over 50% believe it’s a good idea.

Long Street resident, Piers Allen, who has lived in the area for more than 15 years wasn’t sure if he supported the idea. “I hope it would quieten the street and, from vehicular noise, this is likely. “However, I worry that the party aspect of the street, the night economy, the way the clubs and people spill onto the road treating it as an open-air night club, might simply get worse if traffic no longer drives along it. “This noise and ‘busyness’ disturbs me more than the car noise. However, the ridiculous disco club buses that drive around town – making the glass in our windows shake – and which are obscenely intrusive, would no longer bother us. That would be a great plus. “The flood of slow-cruising taxis and visiting cars, which block all lanes from late at night till the early hours, would also go,” he said. Mr Allen said he would recommend that it be tried for a year. He also said Long Street should be pedestrianised from Wale Street to Buitensingel.

While there is no formal proposal to pedestrianise, a majority seemed to favour pedestrianising the street between Wale and Buitensingel and hardly ever mentioned the lower end towards the Foreshore. Russell Wightman who lives in Bree Street, said he believed it would be a big mistake. “Long Street along with Adderley, Loop, Bree, Buitengracht streets are the main arteries of the city. “They lead people from one end to the other. Already all these streets are clogged; to remove one of them might actually cause a bigger problem. “What might work is to close the street to vehicles from 10am to 3pm. “A project of this size would need a lot of planning and would cost a lot of money. “Long Street is almost always closed to vehicles when big events are held but that works because it’s temporary,” he said.

Thomas Atkinson, manager of Long Street Backpackers said he was split on the issue. One the one hand it would encourage more people to walk through the city and on the other hand it could become a problem for businesses, he said “It would be nice to have fewer cars and less traffic through the street but what about businesses and deliveries?” he asked. Councillor Dave Bryant, said he was aware of the blogs and tweets on the topic and said while he didn’t have an opinion he would be willing to have public meetings to discuss it. “I don’t have a particular stance, but should residents and businesses feel very strongly about the issue, I can certainly host public meetings where people could explore the idea. “There are many concerns and aspects that would have to be taken into consideration,” Mr Bryant said.

Jody Aufrichtig, one of the partners and owners of Indigo Properties which owns several buildings in Long Street said he believed it was a great idea. He said he and his partners, Nick Ferguson and Barry Harlen made a proposal to the City six years ago to have Long Street closed from 7pm on a Friday to Sunday. “The idea was that there would be booms that would drop and no cars would be allowed in the area. “Our aim was to create an entertainment hub, where party goers could enjoy a pedestrianised street while spending a night out on the town. “We spent R250 000 on our proposal and got the support of other property owners. The City wouldn’t co-operate and it fell through. I am glad that there are talks about this again and I am more than willing to head this project but this will need co-operation from all roleplayers including the City,” he said Mr Aufrichtig told the CapeTowner that he believed the pedestrianisation of Long Street could have a positive impact on nightlife as well as tourism. “The benefit for businesses is tremendous and we could see significant growth in the area,” he said.

Brett Herron, Mayoral Committee Member for Transport, Roads and Stormwater said no proposal for the pedestrianisation of Long Street is currently being considered. “Should such a proposal be put forward, a technical and feasibility investigation would be required that covers aspects such as land use, pedestrian volumes, access and mobility function, public transport function, route function within the broader road network, parking capacity, loading demand, available alternative routing. “As the feasibility of the pedestrianisation of Long Street would require significant technical input, it is not possible to indicate at this stage whether the City supports such an initiative or not. “Long and Waterkant Streets play different functions within the CBD road network. “Waterkant Street provides more localised access and Long Street provides both direct access, but also play a more important role in terms of providing connectivity (a mobility function) in the city. “This is evident through the presence of buses, minibus and sedan taxis and delivery vehicles throughout the day,” he said. Mr Herron said the following points were important to note:

– Long Street has pavements with adequate width on both sides.
– The frequent signalised intersections reduce traffic speed.
– The St George’s Mall area already provides for a pedestrian friendly environment in the CBD.
– Long Street provides an important linkage function both to and through the CBD.
– Long Street has a combined one directional couplet function with Loop Street.
– Altering the function of Long Street will impact on the role and function of other roads.

Copyright Cape Community Newspapers, part of Independent News and Media.