Minutes of the 2nd meeting re Speed Control on Kommetjie Road held at the Fish Hoek Civic Centre on 4 August 2011 at 7pm

Minutes by Viv von der Heyden

PRESENT: Nicki Holderness,  Councillors Simon Leill-Cock, Felicity Purchase and Patricia Francke, Desiree Mentor from the South Peninsula Sub-council, Uga Carlini, Sean Glass (SG), City Engineer and head of Transport Network Development, Andre Nel, Deputy Chief for Traffic Operations and Enforcement, Adrian Long (please add position) Janet Holwill,  Alan Rose-Innes, Steve Perritt,  Peter Kempster and other members of the FHVRRA, Viv von der Heyden from the Scenic South, as well as members of other local civic associations and the public – about 50 people in all.

APOLOGIES received from: Kim Kruyshaar, Mark Wiley, Paul Hoffman, Gary Black, Andre van Heerden, Mike Hosking

INTRODUCTION: Viv thanked all for their presence and for the responses received via email or the Scenic South website since the meeting of the 7 July.  After giving the apologies she read out an email from Adv Paul Hoffman: “Please convey my apologies and suggest to the folk who make it to the meeting that the Mayor must be told that if the demands made and ignored in my email to her are not met by a reasonable and specified date, legal proceedings will be instituted by the community affected. “ Paul’s email to Patricia de Lille appears on our website.

She then mentioned that there were three accidents on Kommetjie Rd between the Quarry Rd intersection and Carlisle Lodge in the 5 days between 29 July and 2 August. She had also been sent an email from False Bay Echo reporter Michelle Saffer who stated that there had been 15 accidents in Fish Hoek recorded in the Fish Hoek SAPS accident register for the week ending 1 Aug.  She re-iterated what had been stressed at the first meeting – that more and more visible law enforcement is urgently required in the area.

Chairlady Nicki Holderness thanked Viv, Kim and Uga for their involvement in the Kommetjie Rd issue and introduced Sean Glass.

REPORT by SEAN GLASS on issues raised at the meeting of 7 July:

The point of the Access Management Plan is to provide safe access to arterial routes and safe crossings by pedestrians. He said parts of the Plan of 2002 have been implemented.

Over the past month the following intersections on Kommetjie Rd in Fish Hoek were reviewed: Riverside Rd, 13th Ave and Highway, Hillside and 5th and 6th Avenues. Pedestrian behaviour, the number of vehicles using Kommetjie Rd and  the length of queues of vehicles trying to access Kommetjie Rd were surveyed. The following conclusions were reached:

1. Riverside Rd is the most crucial intersection, the reasons being that the west side of Kommetjie Rd carries a higher volume of traffic – just over 1000 vehicles per hour in peak direction as opposed to 5th/6th Avenues side carrying only 600 per hour. The pattern of traffic showed about 50 vehicles going down 13th Ave and up 17th at peak time, the latter Ave being oversubscribed at peak time.

A traffic circle would not be appropriate at Riverside Rd as the flows are very unbalanced. The good news is that there will be funding before the end of the year to erect a traffic light at Riverside. Planning will go ahead while awaiting budget approval. The light should be in by Feb. 2012. Action: SG

2. The width of Kommetjie Road  at the 13th Avenue / Highway Ave / 14th Avenue intersection is insufficient to accommodate a circle of acceptable size.  Large vehicles must be able to make their way around the circle. As the circle gets smaller to accommodate larger vehicles, the paths of smaller vehicles become straighter, increasing speeds.  There are methods for addressing this problem but the engineers do not believe that they will work in this instance. Consulting engineers have proposed some improvements at these intersections that might entail the creation of one-way streets.

3. The intersection of Kommetjie and 13th, which was highlighted as the most important intervention currently required, actually carries very little pedestrian and vehicular traffic.  It does not appear to justify signals at this point in time.

4. Raised pedestrian crossings 

Raised crossings are not permitted on this class of road in terms of the City’s Traffic Calming Policy.  Again, the need is for effective management of traffic on arterials to ensure the free flow of traffic at reasonable speeds.  It would be most undesirable to attempt to manage traffic speeds on an arterial road by slowing drivers down to 30km/h with a speed hump every 80-100m, only to have those drivers speed up between humps.  It also needs to be borne in mind that raised measures represent a hazard in themselves when placed in the path of driver travelling at excessive speed.  Any person hitting a speed hump or raised pedestrian crossing at 100mk/h, even 80km/h, will lose control and leave the road.  Driver behaviour must be brought under control.

5. Signalled pedestrian crossings: It was difficult to identify points where pedestrians pour across the road in substantial numbers. The areas around False bay College, 2nd Ave, 13th Ave were surveyed. There is no concentrated crossing at peak periods. Occasional crossing is difficult to pinpoint. Once again the community needs to pinpoint the most important places to locate median islands to facilitate pedestrians crossing. Action: Local residents

6. Part of the Management Plan was to use road markings to narrow the road and thereby restrict drivers’ sense of freedom which leads them to drive fast. Operating funds are available to remark the entire length of Kommetjie Rd. Additional right turn lanes and medians will be introduced.  Re-marking should begin the week of 8 August. Action: SG

Two locations for raised curbed medians have been identified: at the intersections at 13th and 16th Avenues. On the remaining medians substantial road studs will placed, all depending on the availability of funds. The worst locations will be dealt with first.

Part of remarking will also take in re-looking at the parking bays which when occupied restrict vision from access roads. Some bays will be removed. Action: SG

7. Overhead signals will be installed at the 17th Ave intersection within 2 months. Action: SG

8. Synchronisation of the traffic lights at 17th Ave and Quarry Rd – the signal plan at the moment is not ideal.  Action: SG 

9. Engineers are looking at the possibility of making some of the avenues one way roads. For this they need intensive public participation but will provide the engineering suggestions. Action: Local residents & SG

10. The Fish Hoek Bypass scheme which would alleviate traffic congestion on the roads within Fish Hoek is environmentally sensitive but remains on the City’s route plan. There are no timelines for the completion of the scheme.

11. Breakdown of taxi routes: The public transport team updated passenger levels at Masiphumelele and Ocean View. City and Province are considering additional permits from Redhill to certain destinations. Most routes are local but there is also a route to Khayalitsha. Currently taxis may only use Kommetjie Road and not the avenues.

12. Ou Kaapse Weg to Lekkerwater Rd: there is a design for a double carriage way with traffic signals at the main intersections. The preliminary design will have to be reviewed in the light of input from the community. The upgrading will be done in logical order as funds become available. There is no timeframe for the above process but it is under the spotlight. Action: SG

(This ongoing thread of conversation may be followed on our Forum).

 

REPORT by ANDRE NEL on issues raised at the meeting of 7 July:

1. Mandatory switching on of headlights: We support this proposal but are not in a position to enforce it.  We could look into the erection of information signage requesting drivers to switch on headlights.

2. Average speed cameras: they are not designed for residential roads – too many stops and starts and points of access.

3. Speed cameras: Fixed speed cameras at 17th Ave and Quarry Rd intersections will hopefully be installed within the next 4 months. These will have the dual function of speed control and the monitoring of red light jumping eastwards and westwards along Kommetjie Rd. Action:  AN

4. Visible and regular policing: Over the past few weeks traffic officials have upped their game with regard to speed checking . The fastest recorded speed on Kommetjie Rd was 95kms/h. There were 10 visits and 4 manual fines were issued. Roadblocks were held for general defects of vehicles and driving offences. 26 drunk drivers were stopped on Kommetjie Rd. Safety pamphlets were issued to pedestrians in the Lekkerwater Rd area and 125 red  lights and helmets were handed out to cyclists along the same length of Kommetjie Rd.

5. Punishment of offenders: Traffic officers can take little action against offenders. The chief magistrate sets fines in relation to the offence. An arrest can be made if the driver is negligent. Impounding of vehicles: this can only be applied if the driver does not have a permit or is off his designated route. The traffic officer has to accompany the impounded vehicle to Ndebeni which effectively takes him and the person collecting the officer out of the system for two hours. Traffic officers cannot impound a defective vehicle – they can suspend it and set conditions for its release. A vehicle parked illegally for more than 7 days can be impounded. These rules can only be changed via national legislation.

6. The traffic dept is trying to analyse the causes of accidents in order to implement measures to prevent them from happening. Action: AN

VIV: FURTHER INPUT received via the Scenic South website and emails since the meeting of 7 July:

1. Since our last meeting I have been contacted by a long time Fish Hoek resident James McDaid with a proposal re supplementing the services of our local police, traffic officers and police forums with a private initiative. This has been referred to senior management in the City. If the City cannot provide the funds necessary, private funding will be looked at. Action: JP Smith 

2. Andrew MacKenzie re-iterated a comment made at our July meeting that occupied parking bays  obscure vision of oncoming traffic on Kommetjie Rd and he made particular mention of the 14th Ave intersection. (A resident subsequent to the meeting to again request the removal of the electricity boxes obscuring vision at 13th and 14th Avenues. Action: City

3. Alan Booth wrote that the access to Kommetjie Rd from 20th Ave. from the sports fields is cause for concern in particular when congregants from St Peter’s Church are on their way home after Sunday morning service and residents are trying to double back into Kommetjie Rd to get to their homes between 20th Ave and Riverside road on the valley side of Kommetjie Rd. This is indeed a very confusing intersection, with some drivers entering the Kommetjie bound lane via the right lane of the island and others on the left.

This issue was not dealt with at the meeting and needs to be looked at. Action: SG

4. Steve Parrett interpreted the stats given by the Traffic Dept. for the first few months of the year. He says that 706 speedsters  were caught in 1.4 days total trapping time – meaning that during the total period there were probably well over 70,000 vehicles that exceeded the limit. He suggests that we all email our  comments separately to Msrs. Smith, De Lille & the rest of the Mayco executive  until such time that we see our concerns conclusively addressed.

5. Dr Lutz van Dijk urges that a second access road  be created into Masiphumelele.  He says that emergency vehicles got stuck at the entrance of Masi at Pokela Road during the devastating fire in May. Comments have also been made about the fact that Pokela Rd provides access to an enormous number of people into Masi and there are no robots to facilitate entry to or exit from the area. Action: SG

(Follow further conversations in this respect on our Forum) 

6. Mike Hosking of the Bluewater Homeowner Association described a number of problem areas on Kommetjie Rd between Capri and Kommetjie. As he was unable to attend this meeting his concerns and proposed solutions have been emailed directly to Sean Glass for attention and follow-up action. Action: SG

(Follow further conversations in this respect on our Forum) 

7. Speed is very effectively controlled throughout Australia by the creation of islands called chicanes. What is the feasibility of using chicanes on Kommetjie Rd?

Response from NH:

Chicanes are only used on residential roads and Australia has very tight traffic controls which makes them effective.

 

QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS FROM THE FLOOR 

1. What would be the cost of the bypass and the Capri slipway? 

SG: Several bypasses and bridges would be required. It would be comparative to the upgrade of Hospital Bend which cost between R200 and R230 million. It would cost at least R75 million. The budgeted figure for improvements on the road from the Ou Kaapse Weg 4-way intersection to Kommetjie is R20 million. This upgrade is necessary as the road is under capacity strain past the Malls and there is only one lane from the 4-way stop to Masiphumelele. 4 branches of City Roads are involved in this upgrade.

 2. What is the difference between a residential road and an arterial road? If Kommetjie Rd were re-defined as a residential road the impact would be enormous – would be able to implement traffic calming measures.

SG: Traffic calming policies don’t allow traffic calming on every residential road as the potential for conflict and accidents has to be taken into consideration. Speed bumps maintain driving speed at about 45km/h which is not appropriate on an arterial road where people want to maintain a consistent speed of 60km/h. It is important not to frustrate people using the road lawfully as this causes rat running- which is probably why the east end of Kommetjie Rd in Fish Hoek is less busy than the western end.

 3. Mr Hacking: I am very relieved that after 13 yrs of doing nothing, something is being proposed, but I think this is inadequate. When are you going to put traffic lights to facilitate pedestrian crossings at 13th Ave? Pedestrians are dispersed because there is no place to cross and because people are scared to cross so they don’t. It is time access to 13th Ave is made safe.

N Holderness: No-one responded to the request to identify 2 sites on Kommetjie Rd (FH) where pedestrian crossings should be placed.

Eva van Belle: One should be placed near 13th Ave as this road provides access to the schools, Valyland and the vet.

Uga Carlini: The pedestrian crossing at 17th Ave needs lines painted on it as the tramlines are not seen to demarcate a pedestrian crossing.

SG: This is a general problem throughout the City – that motorists ignore pedestrian crossings. These suggestions will be seriously considered.

NH:  The Traffic plan of 2002 indicated a problem at 13thAve and the need for traffic signals here. Safe pedestrian and cycling movement along Kommetjie Rd is very necessary.

(Subsequent to the meeting a request was made by Lawrie Mabin that a pedestrian crossing be placed outside Zip Print to service those using the parking lot next to the NG Kerk and the shops and medical centre on the opposite side. This request has been submitted to SG) Action: SG

4. Dr Lutz van Dijk thanked SG for addressing the Masiphumelele access road. 30 000 people live in Masi and they have one access road. In times of emergency there is congestion on Pokela Rd rendering Masi inaccessible. Trucks cannot reach building sites inside Masi because of the narrowness of the roads. Taxis are a big problem. It would be good to divert some of the taxis in another direction- another access road on the west side of Masi would go a long way to alleviating the pressure on Kommetjie Rd. He could look finding some private funding to help build a 2nd access road. Masi is growing and the problem of road congestion will not go away.

NH: This matter should be referred to and be taken on by the Sub-council as a project.  Action: Sub-council

Further correspondence with regard to the above issue and access from other areas along Kommetjie Rd between the 4-way stop and Kommetjie are to be found on the Scenic South website. See the Forum and comments under the article

http://scenicsouth.co.za//2011/08/community-action-brings-results/

5. Steve Perrit: There are 2 by-pass schemes – the official one and the interim bypass which would run from behind the police station, down Carlton Rd, behind Peers Village, along the back of the sports fields meeting up with Kommetjie Rd at the Sun Valley traffic lights. The official by-pass will never happen. The interim bypass would alleviate the nightmare of Main Rd and Kommetjie Rd and is feasible.

NH: Council must look at the interim by-pass scheme. Action: Sub-council 

6. Mr McKenzie: There are a great number of vehicles with non-operational headlights on the road at night.

NH: How many night checks are being done?

AN: Traffic officers are expected to stop such drivers and suspend the vehicles, the owners then having to take the vehicles for a full-roadworthy check. There are just 20 traffic officers on duty throughout the city at night. Undertakes to put officers on Kommetjie Rd at night to check.

Darren Zimmerman (from CMR): A lot of accidents occurring at night are fatal. Speed on Kommetjie Rd is greatest at night. Most cars are doing 100km/h.

AN: We have done speed checks ending at 11pm. The highest speed was 94kms/h.

DZ: There is also much speeding at about 5.30am.

Another issue raised along these lines is the fact that young people are driving fast and furiously and doing “doughnuts” especially on Kommetjie Rd outside Ocean View.

The above certainly needs to be addressed! Action: AN 

7. Can one put speed bumps at the stop streets to force people to slow down in the lower grade residential roads?

NH: Send specifics through to the Sub council and ward councillors.

SG: A parabolic speed bump made out of asphalt costs betweenR15 000 and R20 000.

9. NH: Signals – can solar power be used for the new traffic lights or will they run on electricity?

SG: All signals will be equipped with LED bulbs. There is a cost involved in keeping solar panels operating.

 

CONCLUSION TO THE MEETING

Nicki Holderness  challenged the community to get involved:

 1. 1-way systems: survey your avenue. Assess which way the one-way roads should run. Action: Local residents

 2. With the Integrated Development Plan there is a public participation process and these meetings are usually poorly attended. She urged residents to play an active part at these and within their local residents’ associations as “if we don’t stand up and speak, things just won’t happen”. At the first meeting it was unanimously agreed that we need more and more visible law enforcement in the area. We need to keep up the pressure of more traffic officers in the area. Action: Local residents

3.There are four very substantial Land Use Applications being considered at the moment, all of which will use Kommetjie Rd as an access road and together will be increasing the population of the area by a third. Our major access roads, including Kommetjie Rd and Main Road cannot cope with any further development, and our water and sewage systems are already overburdened. Voice your concerns.

Our councillors are interested in representing us in these matters.

Janet Holwill, Chairlady of the Fish Hoek Valley Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association reiterated the necessity for residents to belong to their local ratepayers associations and to voice their concerns at the quarterly meetings. “I don’t feel we have the voice of the people – of all the ratepayers in the Valley. There are only 4 meetings a year. These meetings provide residents with the opportunity to voice their concerns and make things happen. If the proposed land Use applications are approved we won’t be able to move on our roads, and storm water and sewage won’t cope. Join your Ratepayers’ and speak up! Action: Local residents

The meeting closed at 9pm with informal discussion with the officials continuing.