I therefore have personal experience of the agony of searching for a parking place. It is infuriating when you are in a rush and can't find a parking.
I applaud the City for taking the initiative to try and improve the CBD but by blocking off access and removing parking bays, I am not sure that the City's efforts will have the desired result.
Have your say on Pretoria CBD street closures
The public have been given a chance to have their say on the Tshwane Metro Council's plans to restrict traffic in certain streets in Pretoria's inner city.
Paul Kruger Street is one of the city streets set to become traffic free as part of Operation Reclaim.
The restriction of traffic in these streets is part of the municipality's Operation Reclaim, aimed at revitalising the CBD.
A notice in last week's Government Gazette said the municipality had appointed Mashabane Rose Architects and Urban Designers to undertake a Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA), public consultation and to propose urban intervention.
The streets to be upgraded are Lilian Ngoyi (Van der Walt), between Pretorius and Madiba (Vermeulen); Sisulu (Prinsloo) between Madiba (Vermeulen) and Pretorius; and Helen Joseph (Church) between Du Toit and Thabo Sehume (Andries).
The metro council said: "This is a pilot urban intervention to pedestrianise the identified routes with an intention to reclaim the precinct for... non-motorised users."
The chairman of the Inner City Improvement District (ICID), advocate Salim Yousuf, said this was an attempt to introduce a draconian law to effectively and forcefully preventing visitors with vehicles from entering the city centre.
He said the mayoral committee member for city planning and economic development, Subesh Pillay, was on record as saying that it would cause a temporary inconvenience to business.
"Our concern is that the proposed operation (Reclaim) to block main arterial routes would be catastrophic to businesses in the inner city. We have formally objected to the proposed closures and are prepared to take the matter on review on the basis that the CTMM (City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality) is acting unreasonably and irrationally," he said.
Yousuf said the municipality had so far failed to respond to the ICID's concerns that the proposed closures were not economically or socially feasible.
The ICID had submitted its objections to the metro council's strategic land development tribunal. "The backlog in upgrading and inadequate maintenance programmes greatly contributes to underdevelopment in the inner city," Yousuf said.
He added that clearly demarcated parking bays and the management of parking "is grossly neglected".
Informal trading was also poorly demarcated and managed, he said.
"Poor traffic control, by-law enforcement and the low visibility of the TMPD (Tshwane Metro Police Department) during peak traffic times are primarily the reason for traffic congestion," he said.
Inner-city businesses had the advantage of being easily accessible by vehicle or foot, Yousuf said.
"Attempting to limit vehicle and parking in the inner city would prejudice the capacity of the retail and services sector," said Yousuf. The ICID has requested:
Detailed design and structural plans by the transport department, showing the impact of diverting traffic flow and the resultant compromise of parking bays;
Detailed management plans allowing vehicle access to existing, and bona fide, parking on private properties;
Management plans allowing bona fide access, eg deliveries by vehicles and collection of goods and bulk goods by shoppers;
Alternative parking to existing street parking bays that will be compromised by Operation Reclaim;
The City of Tshwane's budget for investment in ageing infrastructure of parking, public toilets, taxi parking bays and informal trade;
Simulation on traffic flow indicating whether the partial street closures will have a positive impact on traffic flow.
Copies of the HIA and further particulars of the intended project are open for inspection from 7.30am to 4 pm for the rest of the month at Es'kia Mphahlele Library, Sammy Marks Square, corner Madiba (Vermeulen) and Sisulu (Prinsloo) streets, or call 012 358 8710/1077.
Comments on and objections to the HIA must be lodged with Mashabane Rose Associates on or before February 4. These can be posted to Mashabane Rose Associates, Suite 246, Private Bag X2600, Houghton 2041.