30% drop in Sandton traffic will be a success - City
Adam Wakefield, News24
Johannesburg - A 30% drop in traffic on roads leading to Sandton, and into the business hub itself, during the EcoMobility Festival would be a success, the City of Johannesburg said on Tuesday.
Lisa Seftel, executive transport director at the City of Johannesburg said traffic engineers had said that if just 30% of the people who normally travelled to Sandton in private cars used the Park & Ride, the Gautrain or cycle to work, "it will be much easier".
"We started over a year ago. We had extensive consultations. A lot of it has been facilitated by the Sandton management district and we are almost there."
This is the first time the festival is being held in South Africa. The first such festival was held in Suwon City, South Korea, in 2013.
For the month of October, key parts of Sandton will be closed to private vehicles. This means those who work in Sandton will need to use alternative forms of transport, such as buses, bicycles and the Gautrain, or travel on foot.
There is a public transport loop, with a bus lane, that will be open to all vehicles - allowing private cars to turn left into certain parts of the CBD. The loop runs around the expanse of Sandton's CBD.
Seftel, speaking to reporters in Sandton on Tuesday, said access to parking would not be denied. While this could happen occasionally on weekends, "on a weekday everybody who usually has access to parking, will have access to parking". She said in terms of the public transport loop, the city had conducted all the necessary traffic studies.
The problem was not so much about traffic congestion within Sandton, but "getting into Sandton".
Private cars would still be allowed, but changes in the roads could mean it might take longer to reach destinations. Commuters might have to change their normal routes, she said.
"Emergency services will have access and any of the barriers that we are putting up are immediately removable... so anything can be moved in an emergency," Seftel said.
A joint operations centre had been set up with local police, emergency services and private security companies that operated in the area.
"Our long-term vision is to turn Sandton inside out. Sandton has a lot of high walls, buildings facing inwards and for any CBD you want to have a lot of street life. It will enable developers to have a street culture."
The EcoMobility Festival begins on October 1 and will last for the whole month.