Cycling on the promenade gets green light

It’s rare to see the Sea Point promenade empty.

The proposal to ban bicycles from the promenade is officially off the table.

This was confirmed by mayoral committee member for urban mobility, Rob Quintas, after the City of Cape Town received 1 953 comments supporting the use of bicycles on the promenade during the public participation process which ran from Thursday March 10 to Sunday April 10.

When Atlantic Sun asked the City for further details about the input which had been received, they said they were unable to provide this as “the final numbers will be known only once the assessment has been concluded” and that all of the information would be presented in a report to the Portfolio Committee on Urban Mobility and Sub-council 16.

Earlier this year the City called for public input on their proposal to turn the promenade, which stretches from Mouille Point to the pavilion swimming pool, into a pedestrian-only zone (“Plan to ban wheels from promenade”, Atlantic Sun, March 17).

“Given the preliminary outcome of the public participation process, I can confirm the proposal to ban cyclists, skateboarders and roller-blades is off the table,” Mr Quintas told Atlantic Sun.

He said the Urban Mobility Directorate was assessing the comments and would investigate possible solutions to improve the safety of all users along the promenade.

Outlining the background to the proposal, Mr Quintas explained: “The Sea Point Promenade was historically a designated pedestrian only area with markings and signage that restricted cycling, skateboarding and roller blading along the walkway.

“For October 2012 (Transport Month) the restriction was temporarily lifted and first extended as a trial period to 31 March 2013, whereafter the restriction on cycling, skateboarding and roller blading was permanently lifted.

“It must be noted that scooters (electrical) were not included in the lifting of the restrictions in terms of the Public Parks By-law,” he added.

In addition to this, said mayoral committee member for safety and security, JP Smith, electric (motorised) vehicles are not allowed on the promenade/sidewalk in terms of national legislation and users have to use a public road, but it is also required that these vehicles be properly licensed.

“These are infringements in terms of the National Road Traffic Act. It must also be noted that the Traffic Service has also liaised with the companies hiring out electric vehicles, informing them that these are not allowed on a public road if they are not properly licensed,” said Mr Smith.

He added that the City’s Traffic Service conducts operations based on available resources and priorities on any given day.

“Where officers witness transgressions of national legislation or City by-laws, they will act,” Mr Smith warned.

Jared Chaitowitz, the co-owner of Upcycles, a bicycle rental company, said they were relieved by the result and hoped that the City would help them make Cape Town the most bicycle-friendly city in Africa.

“We look forward to seeing what proactive steps the City takes, to help make the Promenade safer for all its users. We hope the City will include stakeholders like ourselves in the process this time around, as well experts in non-motorised transport, cycling infrastructure and public spaces,” said Mr Chaitowitz.

“So, in the bigger picture, this should be the beginning of a conversation, and action, regarding a citywide network of non-motorised transport infrastructure, and more shared public spaces like the Sea Point Promenade,” he said.

People whizz past on scooters, will they be banned outright?