The metro’s plans to reverse its decision on turning parts of Lynnwood and Atterbury Roads into three lanes to accommodate the city’s Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, will be fought with total vigour.
This emerged from a community meeting on Wednesday night.
It was attended by dozens of residents, business owners, residents’ organisations, schools, other institutions as well as a representative from the University of Pretoria.
Reflecting the mood of the meeting, Democratic Alliance (DA) councillor Shiobhan Muller and her colleagues vowed to do everything in their power to stop the “insanity”.
Tshwane has decided the two main arteries would remain only two lanes – one for general traffic and the other exclusively for the BRT buses – A Re Yeng – in each direction. It cited cost as the major factor in the move.
Muller and her colleagues said having only one lane for general traffic on the two busy roads for a 7km stretch, would completely cut the east off from the Hatfield area, including the Gautrain.
This would result in one of the biggest traffic disasters the city had ever experienced, they warned.
The DA asked residents and others affected by the unilateral Tshwane metro decision to sign a petition to show their disagreement with the plan.
“I am also calling for bilateral talks with the Tshwane metro, other councilors, the provincial transport department and also the national government,” Muller told the audience at the Pro Arte School in Alphen Park.
The DA said it supported the BRT system in principal, but feared this component of the plan would result in a traffic disaster for the city and would mean the end of businesses in Lynnwood Road.
Should funding be the problem as claimed, there were other options available to the metro of obtaining the funds through the national government’s municipal Infrastructure grant, said Muller.
“Otherwise they must wait until such time as they have the money.”
The decision to reverse the initial plan to turn Atterbury Road from Menlyn shopping centre to where it meets Lynnwood Road in Menlo Park and Lynnwood Road up to Loftus Versfeld into a three-lane road – two for general traffic and one for the A Re Yeng BRT in both directions – had been met with outrage by motorists and businesses in the affected area.
The decision to keep only two lanes for a 7km stretch in both directions – one for the BTR and a single lane for other traffic – was taken behind closed doors by the Tshwane steering committee and was mainly based on the prohibitive cost of building additional lanes.
According to mayoral spokesperson Blessing Manale, tenders received for the construction of an additional lane in both directions stated the cost at R88 million per kilometre.
This amount was almost double the rate of the construction of other BTR construction sections from University Drive to Nelson Mandela Drive in the CBD.