Residents vet plans for R21 million upgrade

Posted On Thursday, 16 August 2007 02:00 Published by
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Plans for the R21 million upgrading of Parliament Street in Central are progressing

By Tabelo Timse

Plans for the R21-million upgrading of Parliament Street in Central are progressing, with the second public participation session taking place at The Spotted Cow on Wednesday.

Residents and business owners in Parliament Street were given a presentation by urban renewal expert Neil Fraser from the Central Johannesburg Partnership about his experience with business improvement districts (BIDs).

Fraser said that although each case of the urban renewal projects he had been involved in since 1992 had unique problems, most of them were in a situation of crime and grime.

“We found that the biggest deterrent to criminal activities was to have visible security and a clean area.

“We put security guards on every corner and within visible distance from one another. People will not commit crime in a place where they know there is security,” Fraser said.

Once the crime level dropped and the area was clean, investors started to buy and property prices skyrocketed.

He said another advantage of BID was that a Section 21 company was formed and operated by the property owners of that area. In turn the company hired a management company to take care of administrative functions.

However some residents on Wednesday voiced their reservations about the renewal plan and said that despite efforts to clean up Central, there was no improvement. Other residents were optimistic and said several plans to reduce the crime rate were being implemented.

In order for BID to operate effectively legislation was needed, as well as co-operation with police, the municipality and other stakeholders, Fraser said.

A second presentation was made by Cary Hastie of PR Tech Engineers, who presented the pros and cons of various traffic flow scenarios for Parliament Street.

Four options were discussed: two-way traffic with maximum parking, two-way traffic with maximum pedestrian accessibility, no parking with one- way traffic, and a full pedestrian option.

The engineers had observed traffic flow during peak hours, he said.

The research found that there was no traffic congestion during peak hours in Parliament Street, Hastie said.

Despite this, the residents and business owners preferred the one-way solution and asked the consultants to prepare a more detailed report on this plan.

Last week, residents and business owners in the area attended the first public meeting about the BID.

At that meeting the project was outlined and introduced. A list of issues that needed to be resolved was drawn up.


Publisher: I-Net Bridge
Source: I-Net Bridge

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