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Monday Oct 30, 2017

Parking crisis in Pretoria CBD

Non-existent management and coordination of available spaces were at the heart of parking chaos in the Pretoria city centre, the Transport Indaba hosted by the Tshwane Metro Municipality heard on Friday.

The City's roads and transport head, Pheko Letlonkane, told delegates parking was increasingly becoming a major problem and ought to be addressed with urgency.

The indaba, held at Tshwane House and part of October Transport Month activities, focused on bringing together key industry players to discuss contemporary transport issues around Tshwane in a quest to move the capital city forward.

More than 100 delegates from the bus and minibus taxi industry, Gauteng Commuter Organisation, Tshwane Women in Transport, Metrorail, Gautrain, Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa, metered taxi industry and the Tshwane University of Technology attended the event.

Letlonkane said it was important for the City's integrated transport strategy to be implemented with a view to eradicating traffic congestion affecting the public and business in general. "For people who are doing business in the CBD, it is not easy because you need to drive around for few blocks before you can get a parking and that needs to be addressed. If we really want to be an efficient city, we need to start addressing the issues of parking," he told the indaba.

According to Letlonkane, motorists often neglected the use of private garages that had partnership with the City.

Regarding street parking, he said: "Currently, it is not being managed and it is causing a lot of challenges and there is a lot of double booking which affects our traffic law.

"The utilisation of street parking is not co-ordinated, while in many instances our private garage parking areas are actually empty. We need to start doing something to make sure we address the issue of street parking."

Transport planner Mike Krynauw suggested people be discouraged from using their vehicles. It was about time motorists rid themselves of the mentality that public transport was meant just for the poor. He said people should start using e-bikes to commute to their destinations within the CBD.

To authorities, he suggested they should look into building cycle parking, where e-bikes would be kept safe. Companies should also start thinking differently and wean themselves out of the mentality of providing a certain number of parking spaces for their employees.

"We should also do away with minimum parking; a situation where we say this type of building (for an example) should provide 3 000 parking spaces for its employees. Those days are over. The more businesses subscribe to that, the more people will make use of public transport," Krynauw said.

Heavy motor vehicles were also identified as creators of traffic havoc in the CBD. Krynauw said: "We really need to get the trucks out of our built-up areas."

He said that by getting heavy vehicles out of the CBD, there would be a large piece of land to be redeveloped, where trucks could be parked.

"Once we do that, the rails will have better options. We also need the park-and-ride facilities so that people can be dropped off somewhere and get on to the bus to the CBD," he said.

It was possible to move to a more sustainable system as the City.

One of the delegates expressed concern that lack of parking management contributed to traffic havoc in the City.

The speaker suggested that authorities should think about restricting taxis in the CBD during peak hours.

Letlonkane said: "Our transport network is clogged; it is heavily congested. The more we are congested the more the issues of carbon emission and greenhouse gases are coming to the fore." He added that it was important to change the mindset of people who believed the ownership of a car was a better option to using public transport.

He reiterated the plans by the City to have certain areas during the day as car-free zones. "It has been a long process and the implementation has not been as smooth as we would have hoped," he said. Letlonkane said the City had plans to increase sidewalk space in the CBD.

Pretoria News Weekend


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