Upgrades planned for Kruskal Avenue

Kruskal Avenue in Bellville CBD to be upgraded over the next three years.

The City of Cape Town’s plans for a R17 million upgrade to the heart of Bellville are open for public comment.

The proposed concept design was on display at an open day in Kruskal Avenue on Tuesday February 28. The public has until Wednesday March 8 to comment on the plan, which can be viewed at the Bellville library or the Sub-council 7 offices in Voortrekker Road.

Bellville’s CBD – the second largest in the metro – is set for a major upgrade over the next three years to reduce crime and grime, and the City’s transport and urban authority’s plans to regenerate Kruskal Avenue are part of it.

The Kruskal Avenue spine includes parts of Teddington Road, Voortrekker Road and lower Blanckenberg Street.

In turn, the upgrade would act as a catalyst in the revival of the broader Voortrekker Road precinct, the City said in a statement.

The three-year project started in July last year and has two phases (“Transport plans set in motion,” Northern News, August 4 2016).

Phase one will see pavements widened, old and damaged paving replaced and obstacles such as old plant beds, bins and benches removed. Construction is expected to start in July 2018.

Other plans include the de-cluttering of the central median at the Voortrekker Road intersection by removing artificial rocks and planters and improving access to Elizabeth Park.

A market in a central plaza described by the plan will have five clusters of 20 covered stalls for informal traders, and Carl Malan Street will be changed from four narrow lanes to two wide ones.

Siyabulela Mamkeli, mayoral committee member for area central, believes the project will draw private sector investment to the business precinct.

“Such business nodes hold immense value for businesses and residents, therefore we need to ensure they are revived for the greater good of Cape Town.,” he said.

Ward 10 councillor Jacoline Visser said the CBD was a vibrant place, but crime and and grime were taking their toll.

Bellville police spokeswoman Warrant Officer Henrietta van Niekerk said the CBD had about 30 000 commuters coming through the taxi rank and railway station daily – a figure, she said, that contributed to the number of common robberies reported daily.

Derek Bock, Voortrekker Road Corridor Improvement District’s (VRCID) chief operation officer said Kruskal Avenue was known for “pick-pocketing” and “drug dealing”.

“This is due to the amount of people making use of Kruskal Avenue to reach either the taxi rank or station. Criminals operate here as they can easily blend in with the pedestrians,” he said.

Warrant Officer Van Niekerk said there were instances of drug dealing in the CBD and police had recently established a task team to tackle prostitution and drugs in the Bellville area.

Ms Visser said the upgrade’s goal was to improve public health and safety along with traffic and pedestrian flows while promoting informal trading.

Traffic calming measures and centre islands would ease conflicts between between pedestrians and motorists at the intersection of Voortrekker Road and Durban Road.

Mr Mamkeli said the exact details of these measures would emerge later.

“A number of residents rely on public transport or their feet to get to work and back home. Such upgrades will provide a high quality public space that will serve to promote the use of public transport and non-motorised forms of transport,” said Mr Mamkeli.

Brett Herron, mayoral committee member for transport and urban development, said Bellville was a priority area for infrastructure upgrades and new layouts to make the public transport facilities more efficient.

Mr Bock envisions a Kruskal Avenue that rivals Cape Town’s St George’s Mall.

“There is no reason why this cannot happen. We need a safe, clean and pleasant environment for people to do their shopping and to trade in,” he said.