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Wednesday May 02, 2012

Skywalks could spoil views, says Cape Town

The City of Cape Town believes elevated "sky bridges" that join private developments could cause "antisocial" behaviour among pedestrians and have an adverse effect by making the "empty" streets below prone to criminal activity.

It also thinks they could spoil views of Table Mountain.

The city has now called on the public to comment on its draft sky bridges policy and on when elevated bridges may be appropriate.

The city said the draft policy would assist professionals in the "built environment, including architects, urban planners, urban designers, engineers and landscape architects, to understand what is desirable and acceptable to the City of Cape Town".

"Sky bridges, or elevated walkways, can be seen as a useful way to connect two buildings or as a way of cutting off activity from the street below," the statement on the policy says.

"(They) also (mean people using them) don't interact with the street and city below, becoming exclusionary, while the streets below become unused, encouraging crime and other antisocial behaviour."

The city said it recognised "that the proliferation and adverse effects of sky bridges in Cape Town need to be limited".

"The draft policy will attempt to prevent sky bridges from becoming spatial barriers (and) blocking views of significant buildings and landscapes."

Belinda Walker, the city's mayoral committee member for economic, environmental and spatial planning, said the policy was necessary, but not becuase there were too many sky bridges in the city.

Examples are the sky bridge joining the Golden Acre and Cape Town station, and that at a private City Bowl hospital.

"There will also be one for the Cape Town International Convention Centre (extension)" Walker said.

Sky briges could interfere with views of Table Mountain, she said.

"There's also the issue of heritage. We would like to encourage people to use pavements."

Walker said she did not expect the policy to lead to controversy, and it should be adopted by the full council by the end of the year.


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