Councillor calls for review of traffic-calming policy

The policing of the city’s roads is ineffective, and risky driving behaviour is increasingly uncontrollable and taxis do as they wish, according to Ward 8 councillor and Bergdal sub-council chairwoman Marian Nieuwoudt.

The City needs to toughen up its policing of the roads and broaden its qualifying criteria for speed humps and other traffic-calming measures, says Ward 8 councillor and Bergdal sub-council chairwoman Marian Nieuwoudt.

She tabled a motion to this effect at last month’s sub-council meeting and it came up again at the meeting on Wednesday.

The motion, which will be forwarded to the portfolio committee on urban mobility and ultimately to council, paints a picture of lawlessness on the roads.

Stop signs could be marked with rubber bollards to force motorists to stop if Ms Nieuwoudt has her way.

“The current manner in which the conduct of vehicle drivers is being policed is ineffective, and risky driving behaviour is increasingly uncontrollable and taxis do as they wish,” Ms Nieuwoudt’s motion says.

In her 2021 election campaign, she promised to ensure stricter law enforcement against taxis.

Without citing statistics, her motion says there has been an increase in collisions and road rage incidents between motorists and pedestrians.

This is because motorists flout road rules, use pavements and avoid barrier lines, she says.

Motorists are using residential back-streets to avoid congestion on main roads, “and this renders internal urban streets unsafe”, she says.

“These are the areas where children and the elderly should be able to use the roads safely and freely. The current policy of traffic calming fails to address the current situation.”

As it stands, the policy makes provision for traffic-calming measures, such as speed humps, only near schools and public facilities.

Mayoral committee member for urban mobility Rob Quintas previously told Northern News that the policy does not make provision for calming on the grounds of speed and recklessness alone.

He said the policy prioritised traffic-calming measures for schools, public facilities and, in exceptional cases, at the site of a “recent and serious incident”.

This, Ms Nieuwoudt believes, deprives areas without public facilities, of road-safety solutions.

She urged the sub-council to support her recommendations to the urban mobility portfolio committee.

She recommends that the portfolio committee be requested to “assess and reformulate” the current policy to include the enforcement of traffic calming; that the policy be amended to include the excluded areas; stop signs be lined with rubber bollards to force vehicles to stop; and that a process be established to allow communities to submit new traffic calming ideas for council’s approvals.

Ms Nieuwoudt told Northern News there is an urgent need for traffic-law enforcement to safeguard our roads.

“It is an ongoing concern and therefore we request that the policy provides more support and alternatives. Bad driving is a very long-standing problem, which we have not responded to.”

At a Brackenfell Community Police Forum meeting in June 2021, traffic inspectorate area head Arno Schronen said: “Taxis remain a problem in Brackenfell as well as all over the city where taxis operate.” He was referring to traffic violations and taxi ranks that had popped up on several roads in Brackenfell.