Pretoria: Bold new project for city centre
Paul Kruger Street south, one of the main routes into the CBD, is to be closed to traffic as part of the Tshwane Metro Council's proposed R51 million beautification project.
Paul Kruger's statue on Church Square marks what will be the crossroads of Pretoria city centre's pedestrian malls.
MMC for economic development and planning Subesh Pillay said the council had given the go-ahead for the project, which was expected to take off in October.
"We are not doing this blindly. We know this will cause inconvenience, but hopefully people will get used to the idea."
As for where all the traffic which uses the north-south access to the city will go, Pillay said a team was doing a traffic impact analysis to see where traffic could be diverted.
A report before the council compiled by deputy city manager, operations and service delivery, Lisa Mangcu, said Paul Kruger Street was currently predominantly used by vehicles, with little regard for cyclists and pedestrians.
Under the new plan, the four traffic lanes would be reduced to two and the pavements broadened.
"The infrastructure as it is currently set impedes the smooth flow of pedestrian traffic. In some cases, road signage has been installed on the sidewalks, hampering the ease of access for pedestrian traffic," the report stated.
According the the present alignment of the proposed bus rapid transit (BRT) system in the inner city, buses will use the Paul Kruger Street corridor.
The municipality has commissioned local consultants Arup to provide a concept design for the
Pbeautification of Paul Kruger Street, which will then be developed into detailed designs for implementation "as part of the quick-win projects within the Tshwane Precinct Master Planning project".
The concept design is for the section of Paul Kruger Street between Scheiding Street and Church Square and could be extended to include the corridor between Church Square and Pretoria Zoo in Boom Street.
But there are concerns from business about the project, and the president of the Inner City Improvement District, advocate Salim Yousuf, said there needed to be an impact assessment before the project was implemented.
This should consider the effect of teh plan on businesses, motorists and pedestrians.
Ward 67 (part of the inner city) councillor Sam Moimane said there was a need for proper consultation between the metro council and businesses along Paul Kruger Street. "This is a major decision which needs inputs from affected businesses along this route," he said. "Consideration should also be given about the buses using this route."
Taxis would need holding bays because some of them would no longer be able to travel this route.
Pillay gave the assurance there would be advertisements and the public would be given an opportunity to give their input.