Drastic Plans to Ease Congestion in Techno Park

2016 is slowly grinding to a halt, and some have already escaped work to head into the festive season. Those of us who stay behind are most likely experiencing the mid-December lull: a reluctance to start new tasks, a general winding down of pace, fewer people in the office, and – thankfully – a touch less traffic on the roads.

As a parting gift for the year, the Techno Park management body would like to inform you that the details of a long-term plan to improve the traffic situation in Techno Park have emerged. Following consultations with Stellenbosch Municipality, we have received a detailed outline of the traffic improvement strategies contained in the new municipal Integrated Development Plan (IDP). These strategies address traffic congestion on both the supply and demand side of the problem.

On the supply side, the traffic problems are based on limited access to Techno Park. Currently, the only entrance into Techno Park is via an intersection from the R44. Although this intersection could be improved by constructing additional turning- and slip-lanes, the local traffic density is approaching a point where such upgrades will have limited effect. Consequently, Stellenbosch Municipality plans to provide an additional entrance into Techno Park from the major new western bypass road that is currently in its consultation phase. This long-term plan has the potential to reduce traffic at the R44 intersection entrance by up to 50%.

In addition to this major long-term construction plan, the municipality’s Transport Office has also communicated a number of shorter-term strategies to reduce the number of cars on the roads in and around Stellenbosch. These include:

* The development of a safe, secure and reliable public transport system.
Stellenbosch Municipality has recently signed a memorandum of agreement with the Department of Transport Roads and Public Works for assistance to implement a more sustainable public transport system for Stellenbosch. This system will be similar to Cape Town’s Myciti and George’s Go George public transport systems.

* Promotion of Non-Motorized Transport (NMT).
The municipality has developed a plan to encourage walking and cycling as alternative modes of transport. This includes the construction of cycle paths and walkways in town, work on which has already begun.

* Development and implementation of a Large Employer Trip Reduction Programme (LETRP).
The six largest employers in Stellenbosch – including companies in Techno Park – have been earmarked for a programme to reduce the number of private vehicle trips to work. The plan involves making use of existing transport services to facilitate the daily commute.

* Park-and-ride facilities
The municipality has begun a process to identify suitable land on the outskirts of Stellenbosch where vehicles can be parked. Commuters will then be able to complete their trip into town via public transport, tuk-tuk or bicycle.

* Bicycle sharing scheme.
Applications have been received to implement a bicycle-sharing scheme in the CBD and on Stellenbosch University campus. This will enable people to move around without having to worry about returning a bicycle to the point of departure.

* Tuk-tuk services.
Permits for Tuk-tuk operations in the Stellenbosch CBD have already been approved.

While some of these planned solutions are aimed specifically at Stellenbosch rather than outlying areas like Techno Park, a few of them – notably a safe, secure and reliable public transport system, and the construction of an additional entrance into Techno Park from the western bypass road – are sure to improve congestion in the Park dramatically. In addition, a strong focus on alternatives to driving will likely have considerable knock-on effects on the general congestion levels on the roads in and around town, and hence benefit commuters to Techno Park.

Here’s hoping, then, that the December lull is a premonition of more free-flowing traffic days to come. In the meantime, we wish you a wonderful, restful festive season. If you are fortunate enough to be going somewhere on holiday, safe travels!

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