Public will be able to weigh in on promenade proposal

The public will be consulted before any decisions are made about allowing cycling on the promenade.

This is the word from the City after ward councillor Nicola Jowell’s proposal was discussed late last week.

In January last year, Ms Jowell presented the proposal for the development of a dedicated cycling lane on the promenade to the Transport Portfolio Committee.

The Sea Point promenade.

Last Thursday, August 5, a report containing the recommendations was discussed by Ms Jowell at a meeting of the portfolio committee.

“The City’s Transport Directorate conducted an investigation that included weekend surveys of the area to collate data on the volumes and different modes of transport in use, as well as peak times,” said Ms Jowell.

“The area was mapped out with the aim of looking at what options may be applied to resolve or alleviate the issues. The primary focus of any solution should be on the safe sharing of the space for all users, keeping in mind that up to 90% of users are joggers or walkers, and that many are vulnerable people, such as the elderly, and children.

“Also of importance is the travelling speed of electric scooters and e-bicycles, and how this contributes to conflict, accidents, and injuries,” she noted.

Faghrie and Mishkah Williams are instructed by Duncan how to operate the electric scooter.

It was decided that additional site visits would be conducted under the supervision of a task team and for public participation to take place with regards to any proposals.

“Any proposals on the future recreational use of the Sea Point Promenade will be subject to public participation; meaning residents, users, stakeholders and all other interested and affected parties will have the opportunity to voice and submit their proposals, comments, and opinions before any decision is made about cycling on the Sea Point Promenade,” said City of Cape Town spokesman Luthando Tyhalibongo.

The Atlantic Sun asked cyclists, skateboarders, and runners what they thought about the proposal.

“I think it’s important to have designated lanes as I’m not enjoying this to the fullest,” said Mishkah Williams, 25, of Grassy Park.

“I’m scared of bumping into pedestrians and I have to avoid them and think of my safety and theirs.”

Her husband Faghrie, 29, added: “I think it will be better as there is more congestion on the weekends so I think lanes for bicycles would work.”

“It’s cool that they want to do what they want to do but they must do it, and once it’s done then they can enforce it. I think it would work, there’s space for everyone to enjoy,” said 21-year-old Cape Town based skateboarder Tyrone Thome.

A long-board and a skateboard.

“On the weekend it’s very congested and bicycles should have their dedicated lanes. I’ve seen these motorised scooters and they moving at hectic speeds, and I’ve avoided collisions on few occasions so I definitely think allocated lanes would walk,” said 51-year-old runner Greg English from Grassy Park.

Greg English enjoys running on the promenade.

“I think putting a bike lane would put more stability, more control on the promenade everyone would know the bikes go here walkers go here runners go here, more stability,” said 22-year-old Christina van der Horst from Scarborough.

“If you have a walking lane and bicycle lane it would make it safer and be more organised. I think it’s good idea,” said 25-year-old Pablo Chegiva from Spain.

Pablo Chegiva and Christina van der Horst get ready to ride their bicycles

Business owners on the promenade that manage bicycle rentals are pleased that there will be an opportunity for them to be heard. Upcycle have been at the promenade since 2012.

“We were shocked when we first read the recommendation to drastically limit cycling on the Sea Point Promenade,” said Upcycle co-owner, Jared Chaitowitz.

“Obviously, such a development would be devastating to our business. Furthermore, it would deal a significant blow to the growth of cycling in Cape Town, because the prom is such a popular place for bike riders of all ages to begin incorporating cycling into their lives.

“We are very grateful to Councillor Nicola Jowell for championing the idea of the prom as a safe, shared public space for all. And we are relieved that stakeholders such as ourselves, and other members of the public, will now be able to talk to the City about the recommendation before it is adopted,” he said.

However, Mr Chaitowitz added: “We are aware that some disconcerting incidents involving bikes, scooters and pedestrians have happened on the prom. So, of course we are ready and willing to engage with the City during the public participation process, in the hopes of finding a solution that works for everybody.”

Cape Town Electrek has been operating on the promenade for more than three years, hiring out electric bicycles and scooters.

“During this time, the number of local families and tourists who enjoy many different activities on the promenade has significantly increased. We believe that the promenade should be open for all to enjoy at all times, and that having a lane with clear signage would help create a designated space between walkers and riders,” said owner Lisa Moulder-Williams.