MINUTES OF MEETING REGARDING SPEED CONTROL ON KOMMETJIE RD

Fish Hoek Civic Centre

7 July 2011 at 7pm

PRESENT: Councillors Nicki Holderness, Simon Leill-Cock, Felicity Purchase and Dave D’Alton, Kim Kruyshaar and Viv von der Heyden from the Scenic South, Uga Carlini, Sean Glass, city engineer and head of transport network development, Mark Harding  Principal Traffic Inspector for the Southern Peninsula, Janet Holwill, Steve Perrit, Gordon Woodbridge , Peter Kempster and other members of the FHVRRA, as well as members of other local civic associations, the press and the public – about 100 people in all.

Minutes by: Viv von der Heyden

1. INTRODUCTION: Viv von der Heyden thanked all for their presence and responses to the online petition set up. She said that she was given correspondence from 1992 and 1997 between a Kommetjie Rd resident and the then local municipalities on the very issue that we are dealing with a response from the South Peninsula Municipality in 1999 acknowledging the need for traffic signals at the intersections of Riverside Road and 13th Ave the  implementation of which “will commence as and when funds are available… It is further suggested to the traffic manager that speed enforcement be seriously addressed on a regular basis.” Twelve years later we are still waiting! She then gave a run-down on the suggestions and proposals arising from the petition, emails and letters received on the subject of Kommetjie Rd. These included:

 1.1       changing the classification of Kommetjie Rd from arterial to residential so that appropriate measures can be implemented

1.2      raised traffic islands along the entire length of the road

1.3      circles or mini-circles at Riverside Rd and at Highway and 14th Ave

1.4      raised pedestrian crossings

1.5      the synchronising of the Quarry Rd and 17th Ave robots

1.6      mandatory switching on of headlights – in winter drivers heading west on  Kommetjie Rd  in winter are blinded by the setting sun directly ahead of them .

1.7     average speed cameras

1.8    speed cameras linked in real time to a local law enforcement facility

1.9    visible and regular policing along the entire Kommetjie Rd- from Fish Hoek to  Kommetjie Residents can register with Arrive Alive to act as voluntary public traffic observers to report bad driving. Please see the Arrive Alive website.

1.10   zero tolerance of offenders.  People would like to see the vehicles of traffic violators impounded and instant and heavy fines being applied without mercy.

1.11   the prosecution with the charge of manslaughter those guilty of killing someone through reckless or drunken driving, and such criminal cases dealt with    swiftly.  

She asked that www.scenicsouth.co.za be used as a a platform for giving feedback about progress made and handed over to chairlady, Nicki Holderniss.

2. ADDRESS BY UGA CARLINI. One of the first people on the scene of the fatal accident outside her house on Kommetjie Rd in June 2011, Uga gave a passionate and powerful address disputing the official statistics. She quoted the following stats:

2.1       Sun 5 June 2011 Ray Renaud and his dog Tiger are killed by a speeding sedan, travelling at an estimated 120km per hour, overtaking on a solid road lane.

2.2      August 20th, 2009 The Echo newspaper reports on ACCIDENT INTERSECTION, Kommetjie Rd and I quote ‘An accident waiting to happen. This is   how the intersection of 17th avenue and Kommetjie Rd has been described.’The     day before that, on the 19th of August, after the newspaper had already gone to   print, Gabrielle Bauwer, 19, died after being hit by a taxi that had jumped a red light.   She was walking on the pavement and with her dog.

 2.3       A Carlisle Lodge Resident was hit by a car, had a fractured leg and died a week  later. Two of their residents have had serious car accidents while trying to leave the property on the Kommetjie Road side. Carlisle Lodge changes its  entrance from Kommetjie Road to Nelson Road because of the danger to their      residents and their families.

  2.4       On 25th July 1998 Mrs Hacking was killed by a reckless driver travelling at an excessive speed without its lights on. She was crossing Kommetjie Rd at night  with her husband after a function at the Catholic Church. The vehicle hit and carried her past the Hillside junction, a distance of over 40 metres. There were protests in the media, meetings, presentations. Local and traffic authorities had much to say about alternatives, budgets and their priorities.

2.5       In 2007a cyclist dies on Kommetjie Road near Capri when he is hit by a car.

2.6       On 17 December 2008 a man was travelling down Kommetjie Road toward Sun Valley at high speed and lost control of his vehicle. The woman who was with him died. The vehicle was a mangled wreck of iron, glass and plastic.

 2.7       Taxi crash injures 20 2008. A head-on collision involving a taxi and an Opel Monza in Kommetjie Road on Sunday evening leaves five people in a critical condition and 15 injured.

 2.8       A 64 yr old motorcyclist was airlifted to hospital with serious injuries on Friday afternoon, 27 May, when he collided with another vehicle on Kommetjie Road.

2.9     On 23 March 2011 a woman is hit by a bus on Kommetjie road. She dies and her body is left for hours at roadside.

2.10    Fatal crash: The driver of a Opel Kadette died when his car hit a tree in Kommetjie Road during the pelting rain in the early hours of Saturday morning.

 2.11  Hit and run: A doctor from Wynberg Military Hospital was knocked of his bike by a Quantum taxi while he was cycling on Kommetjie Road in Fish Hoek.

 2.12  Fish Hoek Police arrested one of their own members for drunk driving after he  crashed a police vehicle into a wall on the corner of Kommetjie Road and 5th Avenue.

2.13    A minibus taxi driver fell asleep behind the wheel travelling at high speed and ploughed into a 3 metre palm tree. He then hit the wall and continued down the wall,  over 2 further palm trees, stopping on top of the street light. Kommetjie Rd resident  Peter Kotze was left to fit the bill of R30 000 in damage.

For more ‘real’ statistics, witness reports on personal losses, disabilities and post traumatic stress syndromes due to Kommetjie Rd related accidents, please view the online petition at Scenic South which includes notes by Kommetjie Rd victims. Currently data is being collected from Site 5 and Ocean View residents who have suffered losses, injuries and traumas on Kommetjie Rd as well.”

She questioned how the authorities could state  that the problem on Kommetjie Road was not big enough for actioning safety measures and law enforcement, concluding her address by quoting Lydia Bauwer, grieving mom of Kommetjie Rd victim Gabi.

3. FURTHER SUGGESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR

Nicki Holderness then opened the meeting to the floor, asking for further proposals to the list above. Amongst the comments made were:

3.1       In response to 1.3 above: Why the suggestion of circles and not traffic lights?

Response from Sean Glass: Intervals between traffic lights are far too long- need to slow traffic down. Comment from resident: People don’t stop at traffic lights- circles do slow down traffic.

3.2       Some of the avenues should be closed off or turned into one way streets as visibilty on entering Kommetjie road is obscured. Mention was made of the electricity boxes blocking vision at 3rd and 5th and 13th Avenues.

Response from Nicki: The Traffic plan of 2002 indicated a problem at 13thAve and the need for traffic signals here.

3.3       A resident living on the corner of  the Riverside intersection claimed that traffic lights here would create difficulty for a number of residents in that they would have to do a u-turn to gain access to their properties.

3.4       A resident on Kommetjie Rd said that  the city officials  a few years ago took away the parking bays outside the houses in the vicinity of 120 Kommetjie Rd without consulting the residents affected who now have great difficulty getting out of their driveways safely. He appealed for public participation before measures are willy nilly put in place.

3.5       A resident objected to the parking bays that had placed opposite Carlisle Lodge which now when occupied, effectively block visibility for those entering Kommetjie Rd from Pass Rd. Action: We need to have a report back on this at our next meeting- (SG)

3.6       Mark Wiley emphasised the need for law enforcement, stating that only 50% of the taxi drivers are legal, and also for taxi driver education. He also said that taxi ranks need to be looked at- there are too many taxis competing for too little volume.

Response from Nicki: Taxi ranks need to be defined.  Action: At a future meeting we need to be told where the taxi routes are. (SG)

3.7       A resident suggested that Kommetjie Rd properties be given business rights which will enable residents to sell their properties and the traffic would slow down as it does on Main Rd.

3.8       A resident claimed that a hedge obscures the traffic light at 17th Ave and Kommetjie road and stressed the need for overhead traffic lights, especially in the light of the proximity of the two sets of lights which often catch people off guard.

Response from Sean Glass: Action: These will be installed within the next 2 months.(SG)

3.9       Cameras at 17 Ave to stop people from jumping the lights.

3.10    Rumble strips to ensure drivers use the correct lanes and do not cross over painted islands.

3.11     The building of the planned for by-pass road with developers contributing towards this. Response from SG: No budget and certain portions of the land reserved for the by-pass road have since been given away. NH wanted to know how much was in the Developers’ Fund.  Action:Feedback required at next meeting(SG)

3.12    The need for driver education and a change of driver attitude was stressed, starting at school level.

3.13    Cyclist from Tokai: emphasize cyclist safety by putting up effective signs. Nicki: The City is doing a study with regard to cycling lanes – we have the opportunity to do something creative in our area.

3.14    Mr van Heerden, a businessman representing the business owners in Lekkerwater Rd questioned why their issues had not been dealt with by the traffic officials and why a meeting went ahead without their presence. Action: We are expecting a report on this at our next meeting.(Traffic Dept)

4. RESPONSE FROM SEAN GLASS who indicated the 10 plans of the length of Kommetjie Rd that he had pasted up on the wall which indicate the road as it was, the changes proposed in the 2002 traffic plan and the statistics of accidents at various hot points.

4.1       A number of intersections require signals including  Riverside and  Highway.

4.2       Next step is to put signals at Highway, re-aligning Highway and 14th Ave, and control measures at Riverside.

4.3       The City will monitor whether 6th Ave needs signals.

4.4       Further proposals need to be looked at as the situation has changed since the 2001 traffic management plan was created. Action: (SG)

4.5       Need to look at narrowing Kommetjie Rd from Quarry Rd to the lower Avenues, but this will only have an effect on certain people not on reckless drivers.

4.6       Converting some of the avenues to one-way roads will require broad consultation with the residents.

4.7       Effective traffic law enforcement is essential. Action: (Traffic Dept)

4.8       A possible negative impact of slowing down traffic on Kommetjie Rd will be that drivers will try to find the nearest road where they can do what they want. We do not want to transfer the problem to secondary roads.

4.9       Severe road studs will be installed at problem spots. Action: (SG)

4.10    He would like to replace the present islands painted yellow with raised medians but the cost would be in the region of R1 million.

4.11     The public needs to identify 3 points for 2-stage pedestrian crossings on Kommetjie Rd. Action: We are calling on residents to identify these points via email or via the Scenic South website forum. He hopes that the City will be able to create 2 medians in the short term. Action: (SG)

5. RESPONSE FROM MARK HARDING, principal traffic inspector for our area.

5.1       Under him, for an area stretching from Grassy Park and Retreat southwards, he has a mere 12 traffic officers, 6 on each shift. He suggested that the situation should improve as there are 60-100 officer in training on the first course run for them. (  Subsequent message from mark: I would also like to request that my statement in 5.1 of 60 to 100 Officers to be trained be retracted as I have since been informed that there are currently 13 Officers on training and that it will all depend on what council approves for the new financial year as to how many Officers will be trained in the future. I must apologise for the wrong information that I mentioned. ) 

5.2       Between 4 Jan and 3 July this year, trapping at various times and on various days, 1071 tickets were issued for speeding. He  acknowledged that there is a problem.

6. FURTHER QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS FROM THE FLOOR:

6.1       Nicki Holderness: Instead of a blitz which causes huge traffic back-ups, why can we not have 1 or 2 officers at different hot spots on a regular basis? Response from Mark: we have VCP`s (vehicle check points) for approximately 1 to 1 and half hours at various locations and the roadblock blitzes are usually held in the evening for  longer periods for drunk  driving .

6.2       Janet Holwill: What is the key factor to stop fatalities? Response from MH:  Visible Law Enforcement actions  Action: Traffic Dept

6.3       Uga Carlini: Why have have we waited 9 years for the 2002 plan to be implemented? Response from SG: His dept has to choose across the City which of the worst situations have to be dealt with first. He has a budget of R2-3 million per year for the southern peninsula and much of this year’s budget will be spent on the removing a koppie to make the Ou Kaapse Weg / Silvermine Rd intersection safer. The installation of lights at Highway as a result will not happen this year.

6.4       Gail Jennings of Mobility Magazine asked why this intersection should have priority over Kommetjie Rd. She would like to see the matrix on which this decision is based. Response from SG: the decision is made on the  basis of accident history.

6.5       It was generally agree that the stats are contradictory and need to be cleaned up. (Action: ????)

6.6       So what is going to happen on the race track? Surely the technology exists that would enable local security firms to use film footage from installed cameras to help nail offenders? Response from SG: a permanent camera has been approved for 17th Ave. The document has gone to the Prosecuting  Authority for signature. A single camera has limited effect but slows traffic down at a critical point. Action: This camera will be installed within the next 3-4 months (SG).

6.7       What about the use of average speed cameras? Response from SG: The city has trial average speed cameras on the M5 which seem to be working well. Action: He undertakes to as the service provider to do a feasibility study on using average speed cameras on Kommetjie Rd as a test case for suburban arterial road usage.(SG)

6.8       A resident from Kommetjie thanked SG for the fact that the cats eyes olong that section of the road have at last been put in and the lines painted.

6.9       NH asked SG that the plans be left to be displayed at the Fish Hoek Library or the Subcouncil offices until the next meeting on the 4 August. Action: Residents are asked to look at the maps and forward further proposals to www.scenicsouth.co.za , to email them to Mailto://viv@scenicsouth.co.za or Mailto://kim@scenicsouth.co.za or to drop off letters at 93 Kommetie Rd or the Fish Hoek Veterinary Clinic on Kommetjie Rd.

7.10 Ray Renaud’s son thanked the community for their concern and the efforts being made to make Kommetie Rd safer for all road users and pedestrians.

The meeting was closed by Nicki Holderness with a reference to the Rail Commuters Action Group which which sprung into being in Fish Hoek. “We in this area have a very different approach to life – we believe councillors and officials are our servants. We want action NOW – we don’t want to hear ‘Sorry, it’s just not going to happen.’”

Date of next meeting:  The follow up meeting will take place on the 4 August at the Fish Hoek Civic Centre at 7pm.

Viv