Cape Town’s traffic congestion has reached a point that requires the city council to invest R250m a year over the next 20 years to provide road infrastructure. Picture: Courtney Africa/African News Agency(ANA)
Cape Town - Cape Town’s traffic congestion has reached a point that requires the city council to invest R250million a year over the next 20 years to provide road infrastructure to alleviate the problem.

With a failing passenger rail transport system, more motorists are using the city’s roads, and according to a report before the city council’s transport directorate, there will be no respite from the high degree of congestion in the foreseeable future.

The report says the problem will most likely be exacerbated by unpredictable events, which might include industrial action in the public transport sector, and continued protests over the rail service.

In December 2015 the city council announced it would spend an additional R750m over five financial years on road infrastructure projects to alleviate congestion in the worst affected parts of the city.

A study on congestion found Blaauwberg, Kuils River, and Kommetjie to be the worst affected areas.

Other proposed interventions included capacity-improvements at busy intersections and interchanges.

Mayoral committee member for transport Felicity Purchase said the city council was following a multi-pronged approach to address traffic congestion in general and provide new road infrastructure in the worst affected areas.

“We are working on establishing an efficient, affordable, extensive and intermodal public transport system and changing commuters’ travelling patterns,” she said.

She said the directorate wanted residents to change their commuting patterns by making use of public transport as far as possible.

“The investment in new road infrastructure is benefiting all road users and our local economy as the movement of people is pivotal for optimal productivity and quality of life.

“As we are adding capacity to the existing road network to provide some form of relief in the severely congested areas of the city, we are also working on establishing an efficient, affordable, extensive and intermodal public transport system.”

According to the city council, 3257 “incidents”, and 243 accidents occurred on the city’s roads in February. In 2016, former mayoral committee member for transport Brett Herron said the city’s congestion problems were affecting users of public transport and motorists. Herron encouraged the private sector to implement “flexi-time” work schedules for employees to alleviate congestion.

Purchase said: “Cape Town’s spatial and geographical layout also exacerbates traffic congestion because commuters travel in the same direction towards centres of employment.

“The City of Cape Town cannot dictate how business should operate; we therefore can only encourage the private sector to investigate how they can better manage their employees’ working hours.”

The ANC’s Daliwonga Badela, a member of the transport portfolio committee, said the city’s roads had been congested for years and no action was taken by the city council.

“There is very little political will to deal with this issue and it puzzles me how they plan on implementing this plan,” he said.

“We are very disappointed at the slow pace, and they must find a better way to address an issue like this. It puzzles me that they have not focused on the Khayelitsha and Delft areas that have been complaining about traffic congestion for years, but they are quick to address this issue in affluent areas.”

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Cape Argus