Pelican Park residents have raised concerns about safety for pedestrians during the massive upgrade of Strandfontein Road.
A section of Strandfontein Road, from Fifth Avenue to the old Pelican Park, is currently under construction as part of an upgrade by Transport for Cape Town (TCT), the City of Cape Town’s transport authority, to make a southbound carriageway.
The road is also being prepared as part of the development of the MyCiTi Lansdowne/ Wetton Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Corridor.
Phase three includes work on the road between Govan Mbeki Road and New Ottery Road and the section of the road between 5th Avenue and Emerald Way, which is to be upgraded to four lanes.
Residents have, however, questioned safety measures, or the lack thereof, for pedestrians who use the road to commute daily.
Many people take taxis and have to cross the road and have to make their way over deep trenches and the concrete and plastic barriers.
Residents say this makes their journey longer, more difficult and dangerous.
Avril Hendricks, who has been living in Pelican Park for the past three years, said the roadworks are inconvenient, especially for pedestrians.
“I fetch my grandchild from school with the taxi everyday and every day I worry when I come to the road,” said Ms Hendricks.
“I have to walk all the way down to 17th Avenue where I know my grandchild and I will be safe be-cause if we get on or off anywhere where the roadworks are taking place, we’ll either have to climb over the barriers or walk over uneven terrain. This is dangerous. So I rather take the longer route but this is exhausting,” said Ms Hendricks.
Sadika Khan, who has also been living in Pelican Park for three years, said elderly people and children are especially at risk.
“I am a pensioner and I cannot walk the 50 metres every day. Why couldn’t the City just make proper arangements for pedestrians?” asked Ms Khan.
Brett Herron, mayoral committee member for transport, said the project, which started in July last year, will hopefully be completed by the end of September next year.
Responding to residents’ concerns about the lack of pedestrian safety measures, Mr Herron said TCT has provided temporary crossings, approximately 50m apart, along the road.
“Pedestrians can safely cross the road and the construction site. It seems that some pedestrians are not willing to walk 50m on to the nearest temporary crossing. I urge pedestrians to please use the designated temporary crossings as it is not safe to cross the road at any other point,” he said.
Mr Herron said part of the project will include the construction of a walking path and cycle lane along both sides of Strandfontein Road.
“This will be a shared facility – meaning, the lane will be wide enough so that both pedestrians and cyclists can use it. These lanes will be constructed all the way from the intersection with Govan Mbeki Road to Spine Road, apart from along the sections where the road reserve is too narrow to allow for this facility,” he said.
“Once completed, the shared facility will significantly improve the safety of pedestrians and cyc-lists along Strandfontein Road,” he said.
Responding to the concerns about traffic congestion, Mr Herron said once the carriageway is completed, the additional lanes will help alleviate the traffic congestion along this route.
“In the meantime, motorists can still make use of the existing Strandfontein Road – meaning, the whole of Strandfontein Road is open to traffic because the current roadworks are happening next to the existing road. As such, the congestion along this road could be attributed to the rainy weather and the high volume of traffic during the morning and afternoon peak hour periods,” he said.
Earlier this month the City’s mayoral committee also gave the green light for the design work to start on the BRT Lansdowne-Wetton Corridor, which includes the T11 route from Khayelitsha to the intersection of Strandfontein and New Ottery roads.
The route was supposed to continue to Wynberg but residents living in the City-owned houses there, that were supposed to be demolsihed to make way for the couplet, took legal action against the City. The residents won the court case last year.
About R270million will be spent to upgrade a stretch of road between Strandfontein and Ottery over the next few months.