ATTENTION, Port Elizabeth city planners! PE's roads are under stress from an ever-growing traffic volume.
The other day I and many irate commuters took 42 minutes to move 2.7km. That is an average speed of 1.89 km/hr and I burnt one litre of fuel that would normally give me 15km coverage if I was moving without stops.
Now if we implement the "triangular" one-way system around PE (see illustration on right) this peak traffic would have to travel a total of 18.72km to cover the circumference. If the average speed is only 40km/h it will take 27 minutes to cover the entire circumference of the route.
Now multiply that by four lanes and work out the traffic flow one can achieve.
By eliminating the right turning traffic the delay at intersections is reduced by almost 50%. The rate of accidents is also reduced on these routes by a similar proportion.
If we implement a system like this the ever-expanding CBD of PE becomes a 27-minute city in peak traffic. During calmer times the average speed will increase close to 55km/h, this then makes us a 20-minute city (to drive around the whole circuit). This is far more efficient than the 42 minutes to do 2.7km at present.
The above proposal will require a mind-set change, but free-flowing traffic is worth the investment and the extra distance travelled. These won't be freeways, but multi-lane city routes with a 70km/h maximum speed limit with no doubt permanent camera traps set up for would-be speedsters and no speed bumps either.
Inside this triangular shaped clockwise route remain many alternates to double-back for shorter trips. One example is the pink area in Walmer.
Roads parallel to Cape Road also cover that area. Back roads always come in handy for short trips.
However to make this system work crossroads, even on one-way routes, need to be reduced to a minimum, say one every 500m instead of every 250m.
So with some serious city planning and a will to make things work, we can use the existing infrastructure with some minor changes that will get the city moving again at least faster than 1.89km/h.
Walmer is already a bottleneck with business growing by the day.
It is now up to someone to run with the idea and perfect it as it is only a simplistic proposal at draft stages.
NMMM, can you come to the party? The longer we think about it, the worse it is going to become – it is time to act now.
GPS hosts, get ready to re- programme your GPSes or we will have never-ending "recalculating route". Johannesburg and Pretoria went to one-way routes many moons ago, it is our time now.
In conclusion, I believe it will be far better to "re-invent the wheel" by using existing infrastructure than to spend millions on an overhead flyover system which also would help to elevate the traffic problem. It is a case of thinking out of the box, but also being wise to save on money and strike a balance.
To do nothing is like burying your head in the sand.
RB (name supplied), Port Elizabeth