Plan to ease congestion needs your say

Long lines of vehicles at virtual standstill in early morning traffic in Paarden Eiland.

We all know the feeling of spending hours in the traffic – peak time or not (“Hard times with traffic blues,” Tabletalk, August 3). A three-minute journey often takes double or even three times the amount of time it should, as unpredictable traffic patterns wherever and whenever are the rule of the day. Whether you’re sitting on the N1 or Paarden Eiland, as I was last Thursday morning, it just takes one car to have a breakdown or a road closure and traffic slows to a crawl, causing snarl-ups two or three kilometres long.

To this end the City of Cape Town is proposing flexi-time and carpooling to alleviate the ongoing traffic woes.

The City has admitted that the construction of new road infrastructure alone will not solve Cape Town’s traffic congestion, neither will it improve the long-term sustainability with rapid population growth.

So it’s published a draft Travel Demand Management Strategy which offers interventions to change motorists’ travel patterns and over-reliance on private vehicles.

On the cards is a plan to spend R750 million on road infrastructure projects over the next five years to tackle the extremely frustrating road congestion in Kuils River, Blaauwberg, Kommetjie.

In the past year financial year R40 million was spent to kick-start the Congestion Management Programme and another R118 million is earmarked for the current financial year (2016/17).

“The stark reality remains, however, that we cannot build ourselves out of congestion and that constructing new roads only provides short-term relief.

“Transport for Cape Town (TCT), the City’s transport authority, is therefore also embarking on operational and behavioural interventions that will complement the infrastructure interventions that we have identified in our Congestion Management Programme,’ said the City’s mayoral committee member for transport Brett Herron.

The draft Travel Demand Management Strategy (TDMS), which is available for public comment until Friday October 28, makes proposals about how the City will take the lead in changing the travel patterns of officials.

“Although the TDMS focuses on the interventions that the City can make, we need our residents and local businesses to start thinking about what they can do from their side,” said Mr Herron.

The City’s draft TDMS is proposing that the City leads by example through flexi-time or remote working arrangements for officials where it is workable.

Once the final TDMS is adopted by Council, the City will seek to implement these measures within the next three to five years.

Mr Herron said residents should also consider changing their travel behaviour to help reduce the demand for additional road space and lowering our carbon emissions by relying less on private vehicles, using public transport services and making use of carpooling where two or more passengers travel in the same direction.

The draft TDMS is available on www.capetown.govza/haveyoursay, at libraries across the city, and at sub council offices.