Our city is facing an exciting prospect, albeit a scary one for some; the completion of the Foreshore Freeways. However as Brett Herron, Councilor for Transport at the City of Cape Town, has pointed out, this may or may not be as roads. So before one jumps to conclusions, assume all options are on the table.
I find myself in an awkward position. Being a huge fan of elegant, huge infrastructure as well as a livable, walkable urbanism pundit; it’s tantamount to loving having a tan, but hating summer. This however, may afford me the interesting position of being able to contemplate the options from this schizophrenic-urbanist perspective.
Before we look at options, we need to analyse what linking Table Bay Boulevard (elevated freeway) with Helen Suzman Boulevard aims to achieve; is it an expansion of freeway capacity or the elimination of a choke-point? Capacity expansion would be to widen the N1 from the M5 to Durban Road from 3-3lane to 4-4lane configuration; Elimination of a choke-point is the upgrade of Koeberg Interchange. The difference lies in creating additional infrastructural capacity as a whole versus identifying areas where current capacity is restricted at certain junctions and interchanges, which undermines that capacity.
The traffic signals on Lower Buitengracht is such choke-point; the Foreshore Freeway Completion is therefore a choke-point elimination project. With the project defined, the question is to build or not-to-build.
The proponents argue this would streamline traffic flow around the city, allowing city-bound traffic to use surface roads, without the additional pressure of Atlantic Seaboard-bound traffic trying to negotiate its way through this, the fastest growing part of the city. The opponents argue freeways would further isolate the city from sea, creating a CBD-Waterfront disconnect. It could involve unsightly, additional overpasses with pedestrians and cyclists coming second in this plan, in a city promulgating public- and non-motorised-transport. Opponents go further, proposing the demolition of all the Foreshore Freeways from Christiaan Barnard. Proponents argue in a growing city, this would create traffic chaos up the N1 and N2 freeways respectively, as road capacity is reduced.
Andres de Wet
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