Bus lane plan fury

Published Apr 24, 2015


Pretoria - Dozens of enraged Pretoria east residents have vowed to stop the City of Tshwane’s plans to decrease the number of lanes on busy Lynnwood Road to accommodate the Tshwane Rapid Transit (TRT).

This comes after it was revealed that the city had deviated from its initial plan of widening the road, leaving the two lanes each way unaffected, but has now decided to create a single lane in each direction of the road for the A Re Yeng bus service.

At a public meeting on Wednesday night, residents signed a petition that will be handed to a council meeting meeting on Thursday to stop the move.

DA spokesman for transport, councillor Francois Bekker, said they were determined to stop the plan that the city aims to implement.

The meeting was held at Pro Arte High School in Alphen Park on Wednesday night, with Bekker saying the city’s plans would have an adverse impact on the residents and businesses in the ward. “The truth is, it will affect the eastern suburbs and influence the link between these suburbs and other parts of the city profoundly,” Bekker said.

It was alarming, he said, that the development almost went through council systems unnoticed.

He accused the city of underhanded tactics by making “a behind-the-doors decision” to reduce Lynnwood Road to one lane in each direction. “As the spokesperson for transport I can state that the changes were never tabled at the oversight committee for roads and transport. If such drastic changes are introduced, surely it requires fresh public participation,” Bekker said.

DA councillor Siobhan Muller accused city manager Jason Ngubani of making a unilateral decision regarding the lane reduction, without considering the ramifications of the decision.

She said affected parties were not included during the decision-making and their concerns were not taken into account.

“Public participation meetings with councillors, businesses, residents’ associations and the University of Pretoria have been taking place since 2012. The parties agreed that reducing the road to one lane would cause severe traffic and parking problems,” Muller said.

She said this would have a domino effect on neighbouring suburbs and future development plans which have already been approved.

This move would cut off suburbs located in the east from access to the CBD. This would also limit the access to schools and business that run alongside the road.

“Future development projects will also be impacted on. There are already 200 units being built in Menlo Park, Lynnwood and Brooklyn, but no upgrade of services. This means there won’t be parking for the people who have purchased units in the affected areas,” Muller added.

City spokesman Blessing Manele told the Pretoria News the project steering committee had considered widening the road to accommodate a BRT lane, but found it practical to instead acquire a general traffic lane.

“The steering committee resolved that the provision of additional mix-traffic lanes was too impactful, too costly and would defeat the overall public transport objectives; hence the proposal to revert to the provision for one mixed traffic lane and one TRT lane,” Manele added.

It was not necessary for the city to initiate another public participation process after the first one concluded last year, he said.

“However section 66 of the ordinance will need to be undertaken due to changes regarding the reduction of car lanes and right-turn movements at intersections.”

Manele added that the aim of the TRT was to reduce traffic and the city’s carbon emissions, by placing emphasis on the use of public transport.

“Priority must be given to public transport by ensuring the provision of adequate public transport services and applying travel demand management measures to discourage private transport.”

The idea of a reduced Lynnwood Road did not bode well with the residents who attended the meeting.

Dave Pournara said this would cause heavy congestion on a road that was already operating beyond its capacity.

“This is going to isolate the east from Hatfield. Its also going increase the carbon footprint.”

Pretoria News

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