R52m for non-motorised transport in ’Plain

Mitchell’s Plain non-motorised transport (NMT) project scope and layout.

Wolfgat Sub-council has welcomed the allocation of R52 million to have 16 Mitchell’s Plain roads earmarked for the construction of non-motorised transport (NMT), which includes footways, cycle ways, signage and intersection improvements.

This is to improve universal access, to achieve improved access and mobility, reads the City of Cape Town’s comprehensive integrated transport plan.

Solomon Philander, sub-council chairman and councillor for Ward 116, said it was all about the safety of pedestrians and cyclists.

“To ensure they have safe passage from their homes, to school, public transport routes and work,” he said.

Mr Philander said that the proposed 19.6km of NMT infrastructure was an improvement to universal access on major roads.

The longest stretch would be Highlands Drive, from Weltevreden Parkway to Swartklip Road at 5km; Alpine Street running into Tafelberg Road, from Morgenster Road to Swartklip Road, at 4.4km; and Kilimanjaro Road into Langeberg Avenue from Tafelberg Road to Yellowwood Street at 2.3km.

These include AZ Berman Drive, where last week five Mitchell’s Plain primary school pupils died, while en route to schools in Portland, Westridge, Woodlands and Lentegeur, on Tuesday May 30 (“Five pupils killed in crash”, Plainsman May 31).

AZ Berman is due to stretch from the R300 to Highlands Drive, at 1km.

Mayoral committee member for urban mobility, Rob Quintas, in his speech during a council meeting while tabling the directorate’s budget on Wednesday May 31, said other road users would also benefit from improvements to public transport interchanges and intersections, NMT improvements, as well as other general road upgrades to accommodate the MyCiTi bus service.

“Madam Speaker, the urgent need for the investment in safe, reliable public transport services could not have been more disturbingly highlighted than by the tragic collision (last week) in Mitchell’s Plain that claimed the lives of multiple children travelling to school. Our thoughts, sorrows and prayers are with the families, friends and communities left behind,” he said.

He said that the bulk of its budget at R5.2 billion has been allocated to expand the MyCiTi bus service to the metro-south east, connecting Khayelitsha and Mitchell’s Plain with the economic hubs of Wynberg and Claremont.

“A project that has the full backing and faith of the national government, and which is vital; in stepping into the yawning abyss left by the collapsed passenger rail service managed by the national government,” he said.

This involves the construction of the roads, stations, bus stops, depots, informal trading and economic catalytic spaces as well as other infrastructure needed to get the MyCiTi bus service up and running in these areas.

“This is one of the biggest undertakings by any metro in South Africa,” said Mr Quintas.

The City’s comprehensive integrated transport plan between 2018 and 2023’s annual update of three years ago, proposes a five-year programme to build NMT networks and promote behaviour change.

It will be providing for more NMT facilities at public transport interchanges, like bike racks, park and ride, and bike share including e-bikes.

The national government’s Department of Environmental Affairs statement says that the provision of infrastructure for NMT enables low income communities to access public facilities such as schools and hospitals in a safer and more cost-effective way.

“Workplaces that could previously only be reached under difficult and time-consuming conditions become more accessible through bike paths,” read the statement.

In addition, NMT infrastructure helps to connect households to the public transportation network.

The existence of infrastructure for non-motorised transport is considered a basic prerequisite for encouraging people in South Africa to use bicycles or walk.

“In this regard, the project can ultimately contribute to improved air quality and the reduction of emissions in South African cities,” read their statement.