City Council has overturned a decision by the former ANC-led administration to narrow two car lanes on Atterbury and Lynnwood Roads to a single lane in order to accommodate the BRT. Picture: Oupa Mokoena / African News Agency
Pretoria - The ANC has made an about-turn and supported a new council resolution to set aside a decision by its former mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa to reduce the capacity of Atterbury and Lynnwood roads to a single lane in each direction.

The decision had been taken three years ago against the advice from engineering experts that it would result in traffic congestion. It was to accommodate the A Re Yeng bus rapid transit route in the east of the city.

ANC leader in the current local government term, Mapiti Matsena, said their councillors didn’t want to waste their “political energy” fighting for people who voted for the DA.

“There are lots of people who we must fight for in the ANC-led wards. But if there are people who feel strongly about the issue, let them come out and we will support them,” Matsena said.

He commented on the resolution, taken late at night during the first council sitting of 2018 at Sammy Marks Chamber on Thursday.

Ward 83 councillor Siobhan Muller said the resolution was good news to businesses in the area because it signalled better prospects for job creation. The then ANC administration decision would have also seen a BRT lane in each direction.

Muller said: “If we had gone to one-car lanes, which was an irrational decision made by the previous mayor, we would have lost jobs. We would have choked the businesses along the Lynnwood Road between Loftus and Atterbury roads. We would have caused congestion that would have added travel time to people like you cannot believe.”

She said the routes were from the east way corridor from the western part, which was more of an industrial site. “Your western side is your more industrial site; people there bring stuff to shops in the east,” she said.

A council resolution was taken after an economic impact assessment was conducted into the implications of the ANC administration decision on business activities, Muller said.

“The study had shown that it would not have worked. It would have caused a huge problem getting students to the schools and university. Now that we have the two-car lane the study actually shows that we will get more people in the bus.

“It is going to result in economic growth. It is going to create jobs. It is going to ensure that the development in my ward continues. Why would people want to buy from the congested area that don’t allow you to move on the road?”Muller expressed happiness that a three-year fight put up by her and other ward residents against the ANC-led administration had finally paid dividends.

“It is very good. People from Mamelodi would be able to come around on the BRT route, go straight to town, go to Brooklyn or Menlo Park. It is very positive. Now we can move forward and do what we actually wanted to do in the first place.

“The decision we clarified on Thursday was the original decision made by council with all the studies done, and the previous mayor and city manager came with the premeditated decision that told the engineers that you are crazy, you shouldn’t do this. I am very excited.

“We won a fight that needed to be fought and now we can continue with our lives,” Muller said.

Last year, Roads and Transport MMC Sheila Senkubuge said an economic impact study had been undertaken into the route - Line 2B - of the A Re Yeng project in Pretoria east, saying it was waiting to be tabled in council.

The roll-out of the infrastructure on the routes was delayed owing to strong disapproval by residents, who were opposed to the way the then administration wanted to go about its implementation.

Four independent traffic engineers supported the residents’ sentiments.

They found fault with the 2012 report conducted by the City on the feasibility of reducing lanes along the Lynnwood and Atterbury roads for general traffic.

The report recommended reducing the current two lanes to a single one to accommodate the A Re Yeng bus system.

The former administration held the view that apart from the Lynnwood or University roads intersection, there would be no traffic congestion based on the 2012 baseline analysis.

The engineers disputed that “most of the intersection on Lynnwood Road was at or over capacity during the morning peak hours”.

The engineers said at the time: “The report provided does not motivate for the reduction in lanes from two to one per direction at all. To the contrary, the basic assumption of the report was two lanes per direction, while the projects indicate that one lane per direction would not cope with the traffic demand.”

Pretoria News