City: If we don't act, Sandton will become a parking lot

Adam Wakefield, News24

Johannesburg - Unless the increasing problem of traffic congestion in the Sandton CBD is dealt with, it will become little more than a parking lot by 2016.

This was the message from Lisa Seftel, executive transport director at the City of Johannesburg, ahead of the Thursday launch of the EcoMobility World Festival, which runs in October.

During the festival, certain roads and routes in the Sandton CBD have been altered to emphasise public transport, cycling and walking. Some of the changes will remain permanent after the festival.

"We started to work on Sandton about three or four years ago and we developed a Sandton transport master plan," said Seftel, adding that after evaluating the current number of cars, it was clear Sandton would become little more than a parking lot soon. She went on to say that they then considered the number of people who might shift to public transport.

The City hopes to reduce the number of private cars coming into the CBD. At present, just over 50% of all vehicles into Sandton during the week are private cars.

For the area to remain sustainable, that figure needed to drop to less than 40%, especially as a number of large commercial developments creep towards completion.

"We are not saying we don't want private cars but if you can just take away 30% [of private vehicle traffic], then it can work better for everybody else," Seftel said.

Cycling was a particular focus for the City, since their research indicated 40% of people who currently drove to Sandton lived within 10kms of the ring road.

"Ten kilometres is cyclable. There are a lot of town houses, young professionals, and in other parts of the world, Holland, Denmark, parts of America, people are cycling," she said.

"That's the kind of shift we want to see specifically in Sandton as well as in other parts of the city."