Humerail traffic circle havoc

Residents want measures to divert heavy trucks away from suburb’s narrow streets

Residents of an upmarket Port Elizabeth suburb are up in arms over a new traffic circle that is causing havoc in the neighbourhood.

Fed up with heavy duty vehicles disturbing the peace in Humerail’s narrow streets, residents wanted to erect a wall closing off the area and diverting traffic onto Pommern Street, at the bottom of the suburb.

An application in this regard was turned down by municipal officials earlier this year.

Nelson Mandela Bay municipal spokesman Mthubanzi Mniki said the aim of the circle was to accommodate all road users, including the businesses in the area, and was a means of controlling traffic.

“This business zoning was advertised, as are all rezoning applications, and the public can object to such a use,” he said.

“Our roads department does not support the closure of public roads as the public must have access to all municipal infrastructure.”

The residents said closing off Chapman Road would ensure no congestion in the neighbourhood.

A petition was drawn up and signed by more than 50 residents in the area objecting to the proposed traffic circle, which was built by developers contracted to the new Coca-Cola building in Pommern Street.

Bruce Barr-Sanders, who lives a few metres from the traffic circle and who has communicated with municipal officials on the matter, said residents were at their wit’s end.

“The problem is the traffic circle was so poorly designed for the big trucks coming to and from the railway depot that it directs them straight into Chapman Avenue. This would mean they have to travel all the way through the neighbourhood, on narrow roads that were not designed for these heavy duty trucks.

“People here have paid a lot of money for their properties and this will surely cause a lot of havoc.”

Barr-Sanders said that with the added influx of traffic coming from the newly developed buildings on Pommern, it would make the roads unsafe for residents who walked their dogs and jogged, and for children playing.

Andries Oelofse, who has two properties in the area, said the traffic circle was poorly constructed. “I am in favour of the wall being built because they’ve constructed the circle – which is right in front of my house – very badly,” he said.

“The area is very quiet, even with all the cement and railway depot trucks making their way along the road, but now the traffic circle acts as a feeder for these trucks to divert into the neighbourhood.” Oelofse said they had tried every avenue within the municipality to be heard but with little luck.

“There are bylaws to protect residents. We are aware the office space was earmarked for development but the developers should have ensured the tenants were not affected.”

Another resident, Edward Brett, said the congestion of the business parks would kill Humerail.

“It is already a nightmare coming from Humewood Road but now with the added people who will fill the new office park it will kill the area with the few access roads available.

“It’s going to be chock-a-block.” Responding to the request for a wall, Mniki said: “An application has to be made to the human settlements directorate to get comments from all relevant stakeholders. A weight-restriction sign can be erected if absolutely required.”