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Friday Oct 03, 2014

How Joburg's Rea Vaya will affect traffic flow

An Orange Grove resident, Denis Tabakin, has queried how traffic will be affected by Rea Vaya along Louis Botha Avenue.

Motorists and pedestrians make their way on Louis Botha Avenue, which is under construction.

Tabakin asks how the bus rapid transport system (BRT) will work if there are two buses on either side of the road leaving just one lane for motorists and taxis.

'That would be disastrous - imagine the traffic congestion when a taxi stops,' he said.

Tabakin also wants to know whether the Joburg Roads Agency would fix the pavements along that road.

'When they dig, they tend to put all the rubble on the sidewalk and never fix the holes in the road properly. Try pushing a wheelchair along Louis Botha these days. It's impossible,' he said.

Lisa Seftel, the City of Joburg's executive director of transport, explains how the bus system will work:

Louis Botha Avenue has two lanes in each direction. The buses will use the two inner lanes while the general public use the outer lanes.

'That is, private cars and taxis will have one lane per direction and BRT buses will also have one lane per direction concentrated in the middle of the road.'

The BRT model, which has been used since 2009, ensures that public transport operators - taxis, buses, Metrobus and Putco - become part of the Rea Vaya bus operating company, Seftel says, adding: 'There will be a significant reduction of the taxis and other bus operations along the route as these service providers will be Rea Vaya operators.'

Seftel says the middle lanes are being converted according to BRT standards and will be completed next month.

'We will then move traffic to the middle of the road and work on the outer lanes.

'We will fix these lanes by providing an asphalt overlay or what is commonly known as black tar. All the four lanes on Louis Botha Avenue will be renewed, with upgrading of lights, traffic signals, road markings and new road signs. CCTV cameras and landscaping will be installed.

'The landscaping will give the Louis Botha corridor a new Rea Vaya-BRT look and feel.'

The lanes will be colour-coded: red lanes in the middle for Rea Vaya and yellow for a 3m sidewalk to improve 'pedestrians' connectivity'.

The lane for private cars and taxis that are not part of Rea Vaya will be uncoloured.

Regarding rubble from the construction, 'we will inform our contractor to ensure that the site is kept in good condition at all times', Seftel said.

The Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA), which is responsible for Rea Vaya, says members of the public should feel free to contact them should they require more information.

'The City of Joburg transportation department and the JDA, as the implementing agent, is committed to ensuring residents are kept informed on the project at all times,' said Vuyiswa Tlomatsane, JDA senior development manager.

'We apologise for the inconvenience during construction, but we can assure residents that once the system is operating, there will be benefits for the residents in terms of better, and regulated, public transport, as well as an improvement in the urban management of the corridor due to the improvements we are making from an urban environment, provision of public lighting and CCTV and the landscaping that we will be doing.'

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The Star


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