Gauteng transport MEC Ismail Vadi

Gauteng transport MEC Ismail Vadi

In a bid to accelerate the use of nonmotorised transport (NMT) and reduce the province’s overall carbon emissions, the Gauteng Roads and Transport Department is currently developing a NMT master plan that will integrate all municipal NMT network plans in the province and commit sustainable sources of funding for the development of associated infrastructure.

In conjunction with the Gauteng Transport Commission (GTC) and various municipalities, the department on Monday held an indaba at which Gauteng’s numerous NMT strategies were identified, with a view to developing an overarching plan that would guide the collation of these projects.

Several such projects centred on the incorporation of cycling and pedestrian infrastructure, such as dedicated pedestrian and bicycle lanes, in the design and maintenance of impending and ongoing road construction projects.

NMT infrastructure would also be developed along feeder roads that connected with public transport trunk routes – such as that of the City of Joburg’s Rea Vaya bus rapidtransport (BRT) system – to provide complementary multimodal transport solutions.

Gauteng transport MEC Ismail Vadi told a media briefing at the indaba that the NMT master plan would ensure that various spheres of government collaborated to achieve the objectives of Gauteng’s 25-year integrated transport master plan (ITMP25).

“Several municipalities have NMT projects in the pipeline and this indaba is a way for all these plans to be brought together so that they can be coordinated. This is the first time that I am getting a full report on what we’re doing in terms of NMT infrastructure development [across the province]. It doesn’t make sense to have several projects that are being progressed without a coordinating [body],” he said, noting that the GTC would assume this coordinating function.

Vadi also announced on Monday that the GTC aimed to donate 3 000 bicycles to scholars as well as create 5 km of cycle lanes in Vosloorus, south of Johannesburg, and 10 km of cycle lanes in Kaalfontein, in Midrand.

“The increased use of an affordable mode of public transport, especially for low-income residents, [enables] learners to get to school safely and [faster and also increases] mobility,” the department said in a statement.

The department was also currently rolling out NMT infrastructure in Johannesburg’s Alexandra township, through which sidewalks were being improved and widened, and a dedicated “cycle way” built, linking Longmeadow/Linbro Park and the Marlboro Gautrain station.

These initiatives would be aligned with the ongoing BRT infrastructure roll-out across Johannesburg, the third phase of which had seen the start of construction of a dedicated bus lane and service initiated from the University of the Witwatersrand, in Braamfontein, to theSandton Gautrain station.

The province’s various NMT and BRT projects were aimed at mitigating the effect of increasing volumes of road traffic across Gauteng.

ITMP25 leader and Gautrain Management Agency CEO Jack van der Merwe said this month at a Transport Forum meeting that, if current trends continued, the weighted peak-hour road network speed would reduce from 48 km/h to below 10 km/h over the next 25 years, as peak-hour person trips were expected to grow from 2.2-million to 3.9-million.

“Major interventions and management of travel choices and demand will be required to avoid this scenario,” he cautioned.