City called out for idling on school road jam

Graaff Avenue becomes congested when parents drop off and pick up their children.

Residents near Milnerton Primary School say it has been nearly four years since they asked the City to sort out traffic congestion around the school but the problem persists.

The congestion is mostly caused by parents dropping off their children in the morning and picking them up in the afternoon, the residents say.

The school’s governing body chairman, Richard Nell, said the City had inspected the site some years back.

“However, the matter was never brought to a conclusion. We approached the City in 2017/18 but the problem was most likely prevalent before that. This issue is a huge concern for the leadership of the school and is discussed in most SGB meetings. The matter is also frequently addressed in the school’s newsletter to the parents.

“Our primary concern is the safety of our pupils and our neighbours who live in the area. The behaviour of our parents and other road users during these peak times sometimes leads to much frustration. Some people disregard traffic laws and consideration of other road users.”

Peter Walsh is a member of the Milnerton Central Residents’ Association and also a frustrated neighbour to the school. Mr Walsh lives in Langerman Avenue – one of four streets surrounding the school and directly affected by the morning and afternoon congestion, which he said had been a problem since he moved to the area in 2013.

“We have begged and pleaded with the City’s traffic department, and nothing is being done. I know that two traffic assessments were conducted since the time we raised this matter in August 2018, but again nothing was done to solve the problem.

“The City has dropped the ball on this one. We as the residents just have to keep applying pressure on them. They are public servants and they mustn’t forget that.”

Mr Walsh said that without congestion it took him about a minute and a half to get from his driveway to Koeberg Road, but a few weeks ago it had taken him 25 minutes to cover the same distance because of traffic congestion around the school.

Mr Walsh provided an email exchange between himself, Milnerton Primary School, Traffic Services Chief Inspector Desré Liebenberg and other City officials dating back to September 2018. In one of the messages, Chief Inspector Liebenberg notes her findings from an inspection she did at the school in August 2018:

• There were no “off-road” parking bays.

• There were four gates around the school to accommodate drop/pick-up-and-go for scholars, but no parking facilities to do so.

• Not all pavements are wide enough to accommodate possible off-road parking bays.

• Vehicles entering from Zastron Road onto Langerman Avenue, stop and drop and make a 3-point turn to be able to return to Zastron Road – causing major backlogs along Langerman Avenue.

In the same email, she outlines possible solutions:

• Convert Begonia Street into a one-way to allow traffic free-flow around the school instead of bottlenecking trying to exit Langerman Avenue.

• Paint parking bays on the left side of Begonia Street, leaving a flow on the right side.

• Create off-road parking bays along Langerman Avenue which can be costly.

Mr Nell told Tabletalk that, ideally, they would like to have Begonia Street and Langerman Avenue made one-ways with parking on the left and traffic lanes on the right side in westerly and northerly directions respectively.

That could potentially serve as a permanent solution or a temporary one if signs and bollards were used during the morning and afternoon peaks.

But these possible solutions have yet to materialise, although Ward 55 councillor, Fabian Ah-Sing said that feedback on them would be available later this month.

“The City’s road and traffic departments are busy with the investigation. Later this month, they will provide feedback to affected parties. A few years ago, there was an investigation and a traffic study done, but that was shelved. It was picked up again, and the City is trying to find solutions to this matter. Once the departments are finished with the investigation, they will then tell us what we can and cannot do,” he said.

Mr Ah-Sing noted, however, that even if the City wanted to repaint the roads or convert a street into a one-way, it would ultimately depend on what the law allowed.

The City did not respond to emailed questions by the time of publication.

Begonia Street in the afternoon during pick-ups.