Public Meeting Re Kommetjie Road- July 7th

All those with an interest in the on going debate regarding traffic and accidents on Kommetjie are invited to a public meeting on July 7th. The meeting will take place in the Fish Hoek Civic Centre and will start at 7pm.

Apparently there will be a number of public officials present who should be able to present their ideas and plans for Kommetjie Road, and hopefully are open to sensible solutions from residents. Hopefully the residents are as willing to hear what the officials have to say.

The road is dangerous and something needs to be done, however, the residents of the area (myself included) need to realise that traffic calming is not the only answer, and probably the least likely to happen. Is it my imagination, or is the increased publicity seeing an increase in the number of sensible drivers on the road? Of coarse there are still plenty of nutters tearing up and down, but it is through the majority showing minority that we do not find their behaviour acceptable that habits will change: law enforcement can take care of the stubborn few.

It is easy for us to blame taxi drivers, and whilst they do contribute their own kind of crazy to the situation they are not on their own. Nor is Kommetjie Road the only place that lunacy occurs. Today I saw a well dressed gent (ok, drop the PC Russell, he was a white, middle aged business man) tore down 17th Avenue past False Bay hospital in a new Mercedes C series, so fast that he nearly took off on a bump in the road, and he was still accelerating. He had to break so hard for the stop street that he went into a skid (this in a car with one of the most advanced breaking systems in history). Although he slowed at the stop street he did not halt, and then tore off down Kendal Road like a jet fighter and was probably over 100kph before he got to the circle at the bottom. Why? Why, Why, Why!!! His chances of reacting to something happening in front of him, such as a child running out into the road, would be nil- one dead child.

With selfishness like that on our roads it seems pointless to do anything to try and improve them, because all that will happen is a) the idiots will find a new way to break the traffic laws for the sake of a few seconds, and/or b) it will move the problem somewhere else.

One thing that I would like to see immediately is to change the language here: instead of talking about calming traffic I would like to change the language to making pedestrians and other road users safe, because it is invariable pedestrians and cyclists who are most at risk, not car drivers- they are cocooned in a metal shell, requiring a sizable impact to cause any series damage. Cars can be replaced, lives cannot.

Anyway, hopefully all stake holders will turn up, and the meeting can be constructive and not a slug out, with outraged residents in one corner and overly defensive political officials in the other; though I fear the worst as the community is spitting venom and the politicians are squaring up to the indignation and trying to defend their positions. Fingers crossed, or at least lets hope my video camera can capture the fireworks and make me millions on YouTube- “fur flying at local council meeting” could go viral you know.

4 thoughts on “Public Meeting Re Kommetjie Road- July 7th

  1. Uga says:

    The last senseless death on Kommetjie road, that of Mr Renaud and his dog Tiger, by a speeding driving overtaking on a solid line driving an estimated 120km happened outside my house on Kommetjie rd.That was a morning in my life that I really wish, I could wipe from my memory. It was horrible. Being relatively new to the area, I have spend some time going house to house on Kommetjie road to ask residents about their experiences, frustrations and fears re this notorious road. Not in my wildest dreams did I imagine hearing what I heard.

    This has been going on from years! Deaths and permanent disability due to Kommetjie road related incidents and accidents have been constant and reoccurring. Many people have tried over the years to be heard by those in power. Groups formed, marches were seen. Letters, petitions, files, case studies, PROOF. It’s been handed over time and time again. Nothing. To no avail. Ignored. A left hand turn lane and a traffic light at best. The words ‘no budget’ and ‘arterial road’ headlining the excuses from the DA’s side.

    Budget? So these lives lost are worth nothing? Some of the few lives lost: Gaby, a 17 year old who was taken out by a speeding taxi (2009); Mr Renaud, crossing a road on a Sunday morning to get the newspaper wiped from the planet by a speeding Sedan (2011); Mrs Hacking leaving church at night, removed forever by a speeding security vehicle with no lights (1998); residents from Site 5 and Ocean View who are as traumatized and injured when they are witnesses in some of these taxi’s, as pedestrians or in witnessing cars (ongoing)…

    Bodies on pavements and in gardens are nothing new. Cars written off more often than not, is a given. Residents witness this on a daily basis. The evidence, photos, tomb stones and bucket loads of witnesses as proof are all there. Two memorial crosses on one block…

    Arterial road? In a residential area with residential houses, schools, pre-schools, a college, an ambulance service, churches and old age homes on either side. Jeez, whose bright idea was that? Change it. The name of roads and areas get changed all the time, with taxpaying Rand. Use our money and save lives. Please.

    This time, do something. Please. Speed cameras, raised pedestrian crossing, roundabouts, one lane traffic and regular law enforcement. Or this merry go round will never stop and neither will the casualties, loss, despair and growing sense of being utterly failed by those who has it in their power to do something about it BUDGET AND ARTERIAL ROADS ASIDE. All we ask for is for solutions and for the solutions to be implemented in a speedily fashion not just for the safety of the people but for the closure of so many that lost so much.

  2. Uga says:

    Re Kommetjie rd meeting, to summerize…

    Of note:

    A point that became clear at the meeting is that their (the traffic authorities) priorities differ from ours (local residents). They base the extent of their remedial efforts on a head count and budgets – so many deaths or incidents for a set of traffic lights. However their head counts are wrong and their plans ten years out of date (The Kommetjie rd Access Management plan was finalized in 2002 and we are still waiting for most of those promised changes to be implemented. It is now 9 years later, the population and their traffic had doubled and the death toll and injuries have tripled plus times 10). If , as their pretty pictures on the wall depicted, there were no fatalities at the 6th Avenue/Highway intersection, where I know Mr Hacking’s wife was killed (in the period of those plans) then how many other incidents are they missing? Maybe it is no wonder they have taken no action on Kommetjie road and priorities the more attractive engineering challenge at the top of Ou Kaapse Weg! It remains to be seen what will be delivered on that was discussed last night. A follow up meeting has been scheduled for August 4th, same time, same place. Fish Hoek Civic Hall. 7pm. Fingers crossed while we hope for the best as we live, drive and walk on Kommetjie rd…

    However perhaps the key point is that we as Fish Hoek residents do not accept a death head count as the decisive measure of appropriate safety measures. One death is too many. We have had plenty now and counting…

  3. Dear Russell

    Both public meetings held in Fish Hoek with regard to speed control on Kommetjie Rd were indeed constructive and were conducted in a orderly fashion and in the spirit of co-operation.Sorry that you were denied the opportunity for fame and fortune on YouTube! The minutes of the first meeting held on the 7July as well as a report on the commitments made by City officials at the second meeting held on the 4 August may be seen on http://www.scenicsouth.co.za.

    Viv von der Heyden

    1. Russell Hepworth says:

      Hi Viv
      I was fortunate enough to attend the first meeting though I missed the second so will have a look at the meeting minutes. The one I attended was a very constructive meeting, though it was dissappointing that no-one representing the judiciary was present, as it is my opinion that no amount of engineering changes to the road will stop madness from occuring- idiots will find a way to be idiots (lets not forget that Gaby Bouwer was killed on the pavement and Mr Renaud was killed by someone aledgedly doing well over the speed limit on a chevroned section of road). And there cannot possibly be enough resource made available to have a police presence everywhere at all times. The answer therefore seems to lie in taking care of offenders in a way that sends a very strong message and makes people think twice about what they intend to do. It seems ludicrous that you can pay a traffic fine at a supermarket checkout. Someone who speeds should be inconvenienced to an extent that makes it not worth their while to try to make up time on the road. Appearing before at least a magistrate surely makes sense, with criminal charges for persistent offenders. However, such discussions were not permitted during the meeting since there was no one there to respond.
      As for my tongue in cheek reference Youtube, I have to say that many of the more abrasive officials were not at the meeting that I attended. Some of the correspondence that I have read between some parties involved in this debate have been quite provocative, even abusive, and I was left to ponder whether or not the sentiments were intended or just a function of the lower attention paid to the formality of communication when using email as a medium. Had these personalities got on top of the meeting then it could well have gone differently. I also think that a huge amount of credit must go to Nicky Holderness for doing such a good job of chairing the meeting and keeping it on point.

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