Joburg peddles new transport plans

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IOL mot pic apr9 Rea Vaya Station Motshwari Mofokeng The city has adopted a complete streets concept involving separate lanes, new signage, lighting, street furniture, proper pavements and cycling links to Rea Vaya stations such as this one in Kingsway Avenue. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng.

Johannesburg - Within the next few years, Joburgers will be able to cycle or walk from Sandton to Alexandra, from Orlando to Noordgesig and from Rosebank to Sandton through Melrose Arch or Parkview.

These are part of the plans the City of Johannesburg is putting into place to change the face of transport in the city and to make it more cycle and pedestrian-friendly.

The city has been establishing cycling paths in many suburbs and has adopted a “complete streets” concept involving the establishment of separate lanes, new signage, lighting, street furniture, benches, proper pavements and cycling links to Rea Vaya stations to encourage the use of outdoor areas, business, entertainment and shopping nodes.

The city is also amending its technical road standards and planning requirements for roads to ensure that cycle and pedestrian lanes are catered for.

Parking requirements, traffic impact assessment studies and by-laws are also being looked into to ensure this can happen.

Daisy Dwango, City of Johannesburg director of planning and policy in the transport department, told a provincial cycling indaba earlier in April that less than two percent of all trips related to cycling.

This was because of safety concerns: Not only were bicycles stolen, but motorists disregarded cyclists and cycling was not perceived as being ‘cool’.

“The objective is to increase the use of an affordable transport system, especially for low-income earners and school and university students.”

“This would also decrease greenhouse gas emissions and result in healthier populations and better lifestyles,” she said.

The idea is to change people’s mindsets, especially younger people who usually plan to buy a car as soon as they can afford it.

In the first three corridors of freedom, which are being established in Empire-Perth, Louis Botha Avenue and Turffontein, cycle lanes have been planned.

The corridors of freedom are intended to revitalise declining inner-city nodes to higher-density, mixed-use communities with schools, clinics, retail and entertainment facilities within short walking or cycling distances.

CREATING JOBS

An off-shoot of the cycling plan is that a network of community-based bike repair centres will be opened, thereby creating jobs. The Gauteng provincial government is also heavily involved with the non-motorised transport plans and is already distributing 3000 bicycles for school transport and 200 to a bike-sharing scheme.

At the indaba, Gauteng transport MEC Ismail Vadi said there would have to be additional and more serious enforcement by the Johannesburg metro police if the cycle paths were to succeed.

“The key to their success is rigid enforcement. If cyclists don’t perceive themselves to be safe in the paths, they will not work,” he said.

PLANNED CYCLE ROUTES

In Orlando, Soweto, a 5km route linking the Noordgesig and Orlando communities to 14 schools, two clinics, the stadium, five Rea Vaya stations, and two Metrorail stations is to be launched on April 25. In a recent project called Sovakalulam, 330 bicycles were handed out to pupils in the area.

The Great Walk in Alexandra will have cycle and walkways incorporating the new Rea Vaya route under construction through Orange Grove. The lanes will link the Longmeadow, Linbro Park and Marlboro stations and should be completed by June 2015.

A walking/cycling path from Alexandra to Sandton is planned, from Pan Africa along the BRT route to Sandton via Grayston over a dedicated bridge linking with Katherine Street, to be completed by January 2017.

The UJ/Wits corridor consisting of 15km from Auckland Park, linking the Rea Vaya route to UJ, Melville, through Braamfontein, ending at the Joburg Park Station is expected to be completed by June 2014. There will be a further 5km phase.

Other planned cycle routes are Ivory Park and Orange Farm, detailed designs of which will be released in June. Construction will start in 2015.

Rosebank to Sandton, with extensions to Melrose Arch and Parkview. The feasibility and detailed designs for the 20km route will be released in October 2014.

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