Better solutions to road

Regarding the Houmoed Avenue extension, we oppose the proposal as it stands. It is simply a piece of engineering with only one purpose – to reduce traffic congestion from the Kommetjie Road/Ou Kaapseweg intersection in the morning. This is clear because there are so few connections onto it. The road adds almost no value to Masiphumelele or Sunnydale and, on the contrary, sets up a fast moving, potentially dangerous road between these residential areas and the vlei.

[The proposal along north edge of Sunnydale is for the road to run] right behind the backyards of existing houses. Thus, (as in Mitchell’s Plain and many other areas of Cape Town with poorly conceived roads) no houses will open along the road. They will protect themselves with walls, there will be no surveillance over the road and therefore not only will it be dangerous in terms of motor vehicle accidents but also in terms of robbery and violence.

In our view, it will add nothing to the amenity of the area other than a slight relief in morning congestion. However the improvement will be only short-term because, as is well-known, improved roads create in time even greater congestion. On the other hand, the cost is serious – the capital cost and the dis-amenity it brings for a long time.

We believe it would be much better to put the money into Kommetjie Road and develop a much more long lasting solution, including lanes for bicycles and public transport/taxis.

This is not to say that there should be no road there.

However we believe it should be thought of as a scenic road enabling locals and visitors to enjoy the edge of the vlei, to go for walks, rides etc. It should be slow moving and have excellent surveillance. It needs to have a line of housing along the north edge of Sunnydale and Masiphumelele which overlooks it and as many connections (if not all vehicular ones) from both those areas as possible. It seems to us that it could also be located about 15m north of where it is now proposed in both Sunnydale and Masiphumelele. This would give more space for housing there. In some, but not all places, this would require some reclamation of the edge of the vlei. This would have some small negative environmental impact, but firstly it would resolve the edge of the vlei for good and secondly it would have the lasting social benefit as proposed above.

Lastly, the apparent urgency for doing the Houmoed extension would be relieved and the concentration should shift, appropriately, onto finding solutions to the unacceptable living standards in Masiphumelele by developing new areas nearby and onto making Kommetjie Road not only a better road for traffic but better socially too.

Group of concerned residents Masiphumelele, Imhoff’s Gift,
St James, Kalk Bay