Cape Town. 120221. Aaron Myers and Alan Diamond, owners at Mama Afrika on Long Street, Cape Town. Businesses people talk about the proposed changes to paying for parking at night in and around the city specifically the CBD, Athlone and Bellville. Reporter Sibongkonke Mama. Picture Courtney Africa

Business owners are divided over the City of Cape Town’s proposed after-hours parking tariff system.

The city plans to introduce 3 300 new paid parking bays across Cape Town, and after-hours tariffs for parts of the CBD, Claremont, Observatory, Camps Bay and Strand.

Aaron Diamond of Mama Africa restaurant on Long Street, said the plan was “madness”. “It will be detrimental to business in the city. People will rather go out to places where they won’t have to pay for parking.

“It will be detrimental to populating the inner city at night. People won’t spend time in the inner city and it will become a great place for criminals to operate at night.

“People will end up parking in dark streets far from where they are going, which will be another safety issue.”

Diamond said the city needed to ensure viable, safe, and inexpensive public transport if it wanted to implement its plan.

Mohamed Brey, who owns Mac’s Gas, Glass and Hardware in Athlone, said the plan would be bad for business.

“If someone wants to buy a bag of cement here, they won’t come in a bus.”

Joel Klein, the owner of Neighbourhood on Long Street, said the plan would make business tougher for establishments that were already struggling.

“Because Long Street is such a hot spot, people can’t avoid coming here just because of parking. (Less frequented) businesses on the south of Wale Street, however, will be hurt badly,” said Klein.

The city should instead focus on dealing with the taxi cab traffic on Long Street.

“During weekends there’s always a bottleneck of cab traffic at the top of the street. Cab drivers are the ones taking up a lot of parking and also parking illegally on the street.

“We need allocated parking for taxis. We (need) traffic officers to guide traffic, stop taxis from stopping in the middle of the road, and motorists from drinking and driving.”

But Lee-Ann Gertze, the manager of Babbo in Claremont, said the parking plan was an “excellent” idea.

“The businesses that are complaining should be more concerned about the safety of their clientele.

“I’m 100 percent behind it, it’s for the customer’s safety. Now they will use cabs instead of drinking and driving.”

Staff at Cubana in Green Point said that if public transport was safer, cheaper and more available people would not use their cars to come into the CBD.

“Businesses complaining about where the public park are using that as an excuse for why their businesses are doing badly. People don’t park somewhere at night so that they can walk 6 to 10km from where they parked,” said a Cubana employee.

He said the plan would also “hurt” Green Point residents.

“If someone wants to pop into the shop to buy bread on their way from work, they will have to add R5, for parking, to the bread price,” he said.

Linkwest Mkandawire, a hairdresser at Magda’s salon in Bellville, said the plan would make a bad situation worse. It would force customers to go where they find free parking.

Barrie Bradley, owner of Mr Pickwick’s on Long Street, said the plan would simply move the problem on Long Street to other areas. “People will probably end up parking as far as the Bo-Kaap. This will create a problem for the residents there. It will force people to park on the periphery of the CBD and walk, and then there’ll be safety issues.”

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