Growing the green philosophy
In October this year, the City of Johannesburg will showcase infrastructure and eco-mobility.
“During Transport Month, we will be promoting walking, cycling and using public transport in a way that we have never done before,” stresses Gauteng MEC for Roads and transport Ismael Vadi. “As part of the Eco Mobility Month programme, certain roads in the Sandton CBD will be closed to private motor vehicles and instead the City will be encouraging residents, workers and visitors to consider other ways of travelling to this usually congested CBD. The streets will be used for cycle and green transport mode rides, street theatre, music and public art, all in the spirit of promoting the inner city use of public transport and non-motorised transport.”
Two new bridges will be built over the M1, with one dedicated to walking and cycling, however Vadi said it has become imperitive for the taxi industry to work with the department and deter its members from turning walking and cycling routes into another road lane, which has become a problem, particularly on William Nicol Road.
“It does not help when one partner is breaking the rules. Pedestrian and cycling lanes are not designed for taxis!”
He said that the city is also on track in rolling out Phase 1C of Rea Vaya between Alexandra, Sandton, Midrand, Ivory Park and the CBD, which phase will see high levels of integration with other public transport modes, walking and cycling.
In June the first of the new green Metrobuses are expected to be delivered and over the medium-term the city aims to ensure that all public transport vehicles use a combination of clean fuels, including biogas. The City is also building new public transport facilities in Lehae, Slovoville, Lenasia and completing in partnership with the department an intermodal facility in Roodepoort.
Vadi says the department is always looking at how to integrate eco-mobility, such as pedestrian and cycling lanes, using existing infrastructure in innovative ways.
The issue of balancing environmental issues with the need for development was raised and Vadi stressed that the department relies heavily on feasibility and environmental studies prior to undertaking any development and will always consider sensitive habitats. He said there have actually been some convincing wins for conservationists in this arena, where alternative options have been implemented.