IMG_0641
1st Stakeholders Workshop
10th March 2015
ecomo
All set for EcoMobility World Festival
18th March 2015

Future of Johannesburg’s Transport is being rolled out now!

EcoMobility_Festival_Joburg

Long-term changes to transport patterns in Sandton with a dominant focus on efficient public transport, bicycle lanes and pedestrian activities are currently being introduced.

The City of Johannesburg is taking the lead with the extension of the Rea Vaya rapid bus network into the northern suburbs and Alexandra and the provision of infrastructure that will make walking and cycling easier, safer and more affordable.

“Our objective is to create a liveable urban environment in Sandton served by a balanced multi-modal transport system that can improve accessibility for people making both shorter and longer trips into its central core,” says the Member of the Mayoral Committee for Transport, Ms Christine Walters.

“The City acknowledges that people may only make the shift to public transport and cycling if there are accessible, affordable and safe transport alternatives available.

“A seamless transport system where people can switch from the Gautrain to the Metrobus or the Rea Vaya, to taxis to cycling and walking, will significantly reduce the volume of private transport usage in the City,” says MMC Walters.

Johannesburg’s hosting of the EcoMobility World Festival in October will give residents a glimpse of the future transport network.

Surveys show that the number of commuters in Sandton is increasing at more than 3% per year. If this growth continues there will soon not be enough road space to accommodate all the private cars. More than 85 000 vehicles, carrying close to 150 000 people, move in and out of the Sandton precinct during peak hour traffic each day – 70% of these trips are undertaken in private cars.

Together with the Sandton Central Management District the City has developed a Sandton Transport Master Plan to address these concerns. The plan provides for a range of inter-related interventions, including:

  • the expansion of Rea Vaya;
  • the introduction of more frequent and more reliable bus services;
  • the creation of park-and-ride facilities served by public transport on the edges of the precinct;
  • high-occupancy vehicle lanes to encourage ride-sharing;
  • residential densification along transport routes, in line with the City’s vision of Corridors of Freedom;
  • clearly demarcated lanes for cyclists and pedestrian walkways linked to safe and accessible green space.

“We are working towards a future where cars will comprise less than 45% of the vehicle traffic in the Sandton precinct,” says Lisa Seftel, the Executive Director of Transport. Rea Vaya and bus trips will increase more than threefold from the current 6% to 20% while pedestrian and cyclists will, together, make up more than 13% of the traffic.

To achieve a more balanced transport mix, which is in line with trends in most modern urban environments, the City will introduce a number of interventions to address the concerns of current roads users and encourage them to switch to alternative modes of transport.

  • The new Rea Vaya lane along Louis Botha Avenue and Katherine Street will link the northern suburbs with Soweto via the CBD and Hillbrow. as well as linking to Alexandra, Midrand, Ivory Park, Sunninghill and Randburg;
  • A transport loop will be established along Rivonia Avenue, Fredman Drive and 5th Street with a dedicated, curb-side lane for all forms of public transport;
  • A new dedicated cycling and walking bridge over the M1 will carry more than 10 000 pedestrians and cyclists every day between Alexandra and Lees Street in Sandton. This bridge, with its striking architectural design, will be completed by the end of 2017 and provide pedestrians who undertake the daily 5km long “trek” with safe and accessible infrastructure.
  • An underground public transport interchange will be built alongside, the Pan Africa shopping mall in Alexandra, where people can switch from taxis, to buses to cycles at a single venue;
  • 30km of sidewalks are being constructed in Alexandra as part of a major public environment upgrade programme;
  • Improved facilities are being arranged for taxi holding and a new rank will be constructed at the Sandton Gautrain Station;
  • Plans to establish park-and-ride facilities at malls such as the Brightwater Commons, Monte Casino, Waterfall, Nicolway and Morningside Glen, are being discussed with developers;
  • Dedicated cycle lanes will be provided along Maude, West and Alice Streets and cyclists will, in future be able to ride from Rosebank to Sandton on this network

Seftel says the promotion of cycling as a safe transport alternative is a priority and the City is working together with private sector sponsors, cycle shops and community organisations to make bicycles more accessible and create a riding culture.

“Our initiatives in Sandton will become important indicators for future developments in the rest of Johannesburg,” says Seftel. “We intend to make public transport more accessible, create a denser network and enable commuters to switch easily between different modes during their daily journeys.”

The City is calling on business organisations, NGOs and transport stakeholders to partner with the City to make this event a success. For more information visit www.ecomobilityfestival.org or watch the documentaries at www.theurbanidea.com/festivalfilms.html