Calls for Bo-Kaap parking to be regulated

Wale Street is always a traffic jam.

During the holiday season, traffic and parking congestion in Bo-Kaap becomes unmanageable, and restaurant owners want paid parking to be implemented.

However, implementing parking marshals is not simple because many residents park their vehicles for free on the streets.

“The challenge is how do we control it? People that live there park in the street in front of the house and as soon as they move then someone else takes it. Bo-Kaap was not built for cars and this has been a fight we have with the City for years now,” said Osman Shaboodien, chairperson of the Bo-Kaap Civic and Ratepayers’ Association (BKCRA).

“We have lobbied the City but there’s no option in legislation that says you can own a City parking. It’s public parking and the legislation does not allow for residents to own it and paid parking will prejudice the people that live here and park here,” Mr Shaboodien said.

Mr Shaboodien adds that there is no need for buses to be stopping in Bo-Kaap and that the City should take responsibility for this matter.

“The City should have solved this long ago; the buses should park in Riebeeck square and not in Bo-Kaap. Sometimes we used to see 12 to 15 buses in the area and it doesn’t work and we have lobbied the City about them being in the area.”

The loading zone takes up parking space.

Abdullah Osman, the owner of Biesmiellah restaurant, says residents of Bo-Kaap should park their cars in the courtyards available to them.

“There is space in the courtyards and people are not using it so you see all these cars are adding to the congestion. As for paid parking I am not sure if it should be implemented as there are car guards that make a living off assisting tourists,” Mr Osman said.

Sudley Judaar, 51, has been a car guard for five years and says some people pay him R20 to park in Wale Street for the entire day.

“Instead of begging or stealing I do this all day. I’m self-employed and I tell the people where to park and where to go, I give them advice. Just beyond Helliger lane I tell them it’s a red zone and they must not park there,” Mr Judaar said.

“Sometimes people do get stuck in traffic because some are in a hurry but I have learnt to manage the people here. I enjoy my job,” he said.

Mr Judaar says the tourist buses are a problem and he was threatened by a bus driver.

“A driver once pulled a gun on me and I was just doing my job. They take up so much space and I don’t think it’s good that they are driving here,” he said.

A bus in Bo-Kaap adds to the traffic congestion.

Yusuf Abed, the manager of Against The Grain (ATG) coffee shop says that the loading zone in front of their business does affect them.

“The loading zone is not parking for our customers and trucks stand here and fill up this space. This is impacting our patrons who are looking for parking, I mean you can’t even see our shop when these trucks are here. They definitely should introduce paid parking and use the money to maintain our roads so I am definitely for it,” said Mr Abed.

Moenier Davids, the owner of Bo-Kaap Deli is also in favour of paid parking as he believes it will deter petty criminals.

“If there is parking marshals around it will provide some sense of security and we need it, so I’m for this. I think it will also lessen the amount of people that work in town but park here because they don’t want to pay for parking in town,” Mr Davids said.

Mr Davids says that paid parking is a catch-22 is it could affect the residents that park in front of their houses.

However, the City announced on November 29 that it intends to implement a pilot resident permit system for De Waterkant as a mechanism to reserve parking on the outskirts of managed areas for residents only.

“Parking tariffs are not intended to be punitive, but are implemented to ensure there is a high turnover of parking bays in popular recreational and business areas. This is to the benefit of visitors, and businesses as parking bays will not be occupied for hours on end by the same person,’ said the City’s mayoral committee member for urban mobility, Councillor Rob Quintas.

Sudley Judaar, a car guard, explains to the driver where to turn next.