Traffic calming request rejected

There will be no relief for residents of Muisvoel Street in D’urbanvale who have to deal with speeding rat-runners every morning.

The City’s Transport and Urban Development Authority (TDA) rejected a request for traffic calming measures for Muisvoel Street, stating that measures had already been implemented on nearby Mosselbank River Road.

Sub-council 7 documents show a Muisvoel Street resident had complained they were experiencing high traffic volumes, particularly from 7am to 8.30am, when Mosselbank River Road was congested as parents dropped off their children at the local primary school and motorists used D’urbanvale as a route to Vissershok Road.

“People are turning off Mosselbank River Road into Herron Street and left up Muisvoel Street, not stopping at the stop street at Falcon Street and rejoining Mosselbank at the top circle.”

“Those using this route seem to have a total disregard for the fact that people live in this street, and travel at excessive speeds.”

The TDA said the problems experienced in Mosselbank River Road and Muisvoel Street are a result of driver behaviour and that traffic calming had already been installed on Mosselbank in the form of speed humps and traffic circles. The TDA said traffic counts revealed that the road was only being used at 67% of its capacity and no further traffic calming could be implemented along it.Another resident, Ian Yoell, said the issue was not that there were already measures on Mosselbank, but some impatient drivers who now rat-run within the rat-run so that they can jump the 10 cars in front of them in Mosselbank River Road.

“They use Muisvoel to get a jump on the cars backing up in Mosselbank. We were assured that the problem would ‘go away’ once construction at the entrance to Clara Anna Fontein was completed. Well guess what the problem is still a problem and the construction is done.” Mr Yoell added: “D’Urbanvale is a residential area – first and foremost. A lot of money is paid in rates and taxes from this area, but now it is used as a rat-run so that people can connect to the N7 a couple of minutes quicker. “It is now very dangerous in the mornings with people driving with no regard for the safety of other road users, particularly pedestrians and runners.”

Suzette Little, mayoral committee member for area north, said traffic calming should be implemented to protect vulnerable road users where they occur in the highest numbers.“This is typically around schools and near public facilities. The remaining portion of the aforementioned road does not have any public facilities.”As for driver behaviour, Ms Little said a general change in driver behaviour towards lower speeds in residential areas was required, which could not be brought about solely through traffic calming and enforcement measures.“Drivers may well be driving at speeds that are inappropriate for Muisvoel Street but not necessarily exceeding the statutory speed limit. Enforcement actions may therefore not prove effective in this case. Driver education and an understanding of how driver behaviour affects residents is required,” she said.Ms Little said a traffic volume survey was conducted in November 2014. An exponential population growth factor of 2% was applied to increase the volumes up to an expected 2017 volume. This volume divided by the capacity of the road resulted in the 67% capacity estimate.Ms Little said further measures could only be considered if motivating factors were provided such as a recent serious incident which could have been prevented by traffic calming, or clear evidence of vulnerable pedestrian activity such as school children crossing a road on a daily basis.

The TDA also rejected a request for guard rails at the intersection of Van der Byl Avenue and Oxford Street, Durbanville, but recommended that warning signs rather be put up, due to the potential hazard the guard rails could cause.In Sub-council documents, a resident complained that there had been a number of incidents where vehicles and taxis “overshot” the stop street, crashing into neighbouring boundary walls. “We are incredibly concerned about these incidents, particularly as the service road is frequently used by pedestrians, runners, families and children. “So far the incidents have been limited to late nights or early mornings, but I do think this needs to be looked at to prevent anything tragic from happening,” the applicant said.Ms Little said it was unfortunate that poor driver behaviour led to damage to private property but said it would be not possible for the City to provide guardrails to protect property in all instances where vehicles left the road.“Much like a collision between two vehicles on the road itself, a collision between a vehicle and private property, such as boundary walls, is a matter between the owners of the vehicles and the property.”“Having said this, the City will certainly implement appropriate measures in an attempt to prevent the vehicle from leaving the road in the first place. Such measures include warning signage to accentuate curves in a roadway,” said Ms Little.

Sub-council documents also showed that the General Appeals Committee upheld a decision by the council to reject a traffic calming application for Smarag and Kwartz Street, Stellenridge. The application was served before Sub-council 7 in March but was not supported. The applicant was informed of the decision and decided to appeal the decision.

Ms Little said traffic calming was being prioritised near Fairmont High School and Stellenberg High School..