Plan to ban wheels from promenade

The City of Cape Town is calling for comment on a proposal to turn the Sea Point Promenade, which stretches from Mouille Point to the pavilion swimming pool, into a pedestrian-only zone.

This is where the promenade starts, or ends, depending on where you begin your walk.

The proposal states that cyclists, skateboarders, and rollerbladers should share the sidewalk on the sea side of Beach Road; while no e-bikes, e-scooters, or motorised devices should be allowed neither on the promenade, nor on the sidewalk on the sea side of Beach Road.

Research was undertaken between February and June last year.

“We have found that approximately 90% of those using the promenade are pedestrians strolling to enjoy the scenic environment, or joggers,” said the City’s mayoral committee member for urban mobility, Rob Quintas.

“A considerable number of these visitors are vulnerable people such as children and the elderly who are frail and at risk of serious injury when run over by an electric bike, an e-scooter, or even cyclists and skateboarders going at speed.”

Nicola Jowell, the councillor for Ward 54, said she had requested an investigation into the use of the promenade in 2020.

“I want to add that Sub-council 16 received many complaints and reports about the conflict between pedestrians and those on bicycles and motorised devices over the past few years.

“Of concern is that some of the elderly visitors ended up in hospital after crashes because people on bicycles and e-bikes go much faster than those on feet. Some of these devices are also heavy and can cause serious injuries,” said Ms Jowell.

The CEO of Upcycle, Jared Chaitowitz, said they had been renting out cycles at the promenade for about 10 years, but the City had not requested comment from his business.

“We are dismayed at the City of Cape Town’s proposal to ban wheels from the Sea Point Promenade, and funnel all that traffic on to the pavement on Beach Road,” he said.

“While we acknowledge that there have been some incidents in the past, we believe that there is more than enough space on the promenade for a dedicated bike lane, which would be separated from pedestrians. Any qualified non-motorised transport expert would agree.

“It’s very upsetting that our business, the livelihoods of our employees, and the safety of bike riders in Cape Town, are being threatened by whoever has taken the retroactive decision to ban cycling on the promenade,” said Chaitowitz.

Sea Point residents Allon Benzakein, 50, and Bernard Schapiro, 76, are both backing the proposal to have cyclists and pedestrians separated on the promenade.

“I enjoy walking on the promenade. It’s peaceful and beautiful but the last few years my enjoyment has been compromised significantly by inconsiderate cyclists and scooters. They go way faster than what is considered safe considerate and it’s not peaceful or fun anymore to walk there,” said Mr Benzakein.

“I want to be able to walk with my grandchildren there and if they want to run across the grass or the promenade without feeling endangered,” said Mr Shapiro.

John Lazarus, 85, uses either an electric skateboard, a uniwheel or an e-bike to commute on the promenade.

“I use the promenade every day. I don’t see why they (City) want to ban electric vehicles. All over the world cities are encouraging the use of e-vehicles. This is a retrogressive step and I’m against it,” said Mr Lazarus.

The proposal is as follows:

  • Pedestrians should have exclusive use of the Sea Point Promenade from where it starts in Mouille Point to the Sea Point Pavilion swimming pool.
  • Prams, wheelchairs and walkers are allowed.
  • Cyclists on pedal bicycles, skateboarders, and rollerbladers should share the sidewalk on the sea side of Beach Road.
  • No e-bikes, e-scooters, or motorised devices should be allowed on the promenade, neither on the sidewalk on the sea side of Beach Road.

Members of the public and interested and affected parties are invited to obtain more information and submit their comments at the forthcoming Open Days:

  • Today, Thursday March 17, from 2pm to 7pm at the Sea Point civic centre.
  • Saturday March 26 from 10am to 2pm, on the grass area along the Sea Point Promenade, near to Rocklands Road.

Comments can also be submitted online by emailing transport.info@capetown.gov.za and quoting reference number: 7200334254

This is where the promenade begins, or ends, depending on where you start your run or stroll.