Residents from the Far South are encouraged to comment on the City’s Far South Transport Plan. File picture: Henk Kruger / ANA
Cape Town - Residents from the Far South are encouraged to comment on the City’s Far South Transport Plan. The plan proposes short- to long-term interventions to alleviate traffic congestion in the Far South, and to meet the current and future demand for public transport in the area.

The plan proposes a wide range of interventions for the areas south of the Table Mountain range, among which Fish Hoek, Clovelly, Sun Valley, Sunnydale, Masiphumelele, Ocean View, Kommetjie, Scarborough, Simon’s Town, Dido Valley and Glencairn.

The proposal, if adopted, will be implemented in the short- to long-term, and the plan itself will be reviewed every five years.

It recommends, among others, scheduled bus services between popular destinations; the improvement of the Southern rail line to attract passengers; the implementation of a travel demand strategy with flexible work hours for City officials and to encourage residents to form lift clubs; the provision of local missing road links; the upgrade of park-and-ride facilities and public transport interchanges in Ocean View and Fish Hoek; the implementation of transit-oriented development with the right development at the right location; and the densification and diversification of land uses in the area.

"The plan will be available on the City’s website, as well at the local subcouncil from 1 March 2019. We’ll host two open days where the plan can be viewed, and officials will be present to answer questions. We want residents from the Far South in particular to read the plan, to comment and make proposals. 

"Ultimately, this plan has been developed to address some of the biggest challenges this area faces, namely congestion and inadequate public transport," said Mayco Member for Transport, Felicity Purchase.

Residents can submit comments from 1 March 2019 to 1 April 2019.

The open days will be hosted as follows:
  • on 7 March 2019, from 16:00 to 19:00 at the King of Kings Baptist Church on the corner of Ou Kaapse Weg and Buller Louw Boulevard in Sun Valley
  • on 8 March 2019, from 16:00 to 19:00 at the Fish Hoek Civic Centre in Fish Hoek
An analysis of commuter trips in the Far South confirmed that an estimated 63% of commuters from this area travel to other suburbs for work – mainly to the Cape Town central business district (CBD) and Southern suburbs, while only 37% are employed locally.

"Some residents travel far to get to work, but given the unique location of the Far South – being surrounded by the ocean and Table Mountain National Park – there are only a few routes commuters can choose from. A minor incident on Ou Kaapse Weg can cause delays for hours; the road network within the area itself is inadequate to meet the current demand; and scheduled public transport is basically non-existent in the Far South," said Purchase. 

"The Golden Arrow Bus Service provides a very limited scheduled bus service, and the Southern rail line has, over the past four years, deteriorated to such a level that only 18% of commuters from the Far South use the train service. The impact of these inefficiencies is at its worst in summer because this is a prime tourist destination with visitors flocking to the area from January to the end of April."
 
Scheduled bus services

"The Golden Arrow Bus Service (GABS) currently provides a very limited service between the Far South and the Cape Town CBD. The plan proposes that we investigate the roll-out of scheduled bus services, and in particular along Chapman’s Peak Drive. This toll road currently carries about a third of the traffic it’s designed for, and could provide a very important alternative route between the Far South, Hout Bay and the Atlantic Seaboard," said Purchase.

The plan proposes the provision of scheduled bus services:
  • From Long Beach or the Sun Valley Mall along Chapman’s Peak Drive towards Hout Bay, where commuters could transfer to the MyCiTi service that operates routes to the Cape Town CBD
  • From Ocean View along Ou Kaapse Weg to Westlake
  • Between Kommetjie and the Fish Hoek train station from where commuters can travel on the Southern line towards the Southern suburbs and the Cape Town CBD
  • Between Fish Hoek and Simon’s Town
Improve the Southern rail line

"Rail is by far the most efficient and affordable form of public transport and the Southern line should be commuters’ mode of choice. According to our assessments there would be 2 300 fewer private vehicles on the main access routes in the peak-hour periods if the passenger numbers could be doubled on this line. 

"This highlights the importance of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa’s refurbishment programme and our investment in the Rail Enforcement Unit which is focusing on the safety and security of commuters and the rail infrastructure," said Purchase.

It is proposed that the City upgrade the park-and-ride facility at the Fish Hoek station in anticipation of the Southern line being improved as more commuters would opt for rail if there is safe and secure parking for their vehicles.

Improve the road network for all road users

The City’s Congestion Management Strategy (2017) identified Kommetjie as one of three priority areas for immediate intervention to address traffic congestion. A budget of R750 million was allocated for infrastructure improvement projects over a period of five years, of which R194 million is being spent on the upgrade of portions of Ou Kaapse Weg and Kommetjie and Main Roads. The project started in 2017 and should be completed by the end of this year, pending any unforeseen delays. This will improve traffic flow within the area, as well as alleviate congestion.

Pedestrian traffic accounts for up to 19% of the movement between Masiphumelele and Ou Kaapse Weg, Long Beach, and Sun Valley in the morning peak-hour period, and cycling for 2%. The current upgrades along Kommetjie and Noordhoek Roads and Ou Kaapse Weg will improve pedestrian and cyclist safety, and encourage other non-motorised users to also use the improved infrastructure.

"It’s possible to increase the number of pedestrians and cyclists in the Greater Kommetjie area by another 2% if we improve the local roads to accommodate them and if we complete the missing links in the existing road network. One example is the proposal to extend Houmoed Avenue from the intersection with Buller Louw Boulevard to Lekkerwater Road in Sunnydale. 

"We’re awaiting the environmental authorisation from the Western Cape Government and the National Department of Water and Sanitation for this road link which will take a lot of pressure off Kommetjie Road if we’re allowed to go ahead," said Alderman Purchase.

Travel demand management

The capacity of the current road infrastructure in the Far South could be increased if commuters change their travel behaviour:
  • by doubling the number of passengers on the Southern line the capacity of the transport network could be increased by 24%
  • if two people ride together the capacity of the transport network could be increased by 26%
  • by doubling the number of vehicles using Chapman’s Peak Drive the capacity of transport network can by increased by 14%
"This plan makes a number of practical recommendations that could be investigated and implemented in the short term, while we’re busy building new roads and fixing the Southern line. I invite residents to attend the open days so that they can see what’s on the table and to also give their input," said Purchase.

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