City’s plan to deal with traffic congestion

The city will soon rollout a pilot project to deploy dozens of ‘pointsmen’ to help regulate traffic and ease congestion at identified hotspots.
Full council recently gave the nod to the project proposed by Gauteng-based independent company, Traffic FreeFlow that are currently deploying their services in Johannesburg and Pretoria. The company presented research outlining the high traffic density in the capital which was, according to the data, attributable to the city’s growing economy as well as growth in the commercial and residential property sectors.
The local project is a spin-off from those initiated in the Johannesburg Metro, Gauteng, in 2004, that then moved to Tshwane (Pretoria). There are currently 232 pointsmen in both cities.
“Since the introduction, thousands of motorists around South Africa have come to rely on this project for assistance. These men and women are truly passionate about making the daily commute as stress-free as possible,” read the report, mentioning the high visibility of their bright-yellow bibs.
Once rolled out, the report adds, the municipality benefits by freeing up much needed law enforcement officers from attending to traffic congestion and focusing rather on reducing criminal activities.
Under the management of Traffic FreeFlow, the pointsmen will be in constant contact with the traffic operations centre.
There are two types of Pointsmen: Static Pointsmen, who are assigned to specific high-traffic intersections and Mobile Pointsmen, who are dispatched on motorcycles to traffic hot spots at a moment’s notice, and are thus able to respond quickly to major intersections that are experiencing faulty/malfunctioning traffic signals.
City residents welcomed the pilot plan hoping it would be rolled out quickly ahead of the festive season’s spike in traffic density.
Pelham resident, PraveshLakhan, said while the traffic flow was acceptable from the suburb, it was in town where there were problems. “Trying to find a parking spot is very difficult. The presence of taxis that have their targets to meet makes it difficult for other road users, so with that in mind I think pointsmen would help,” said the resident.
Another city motorist, SenzoKhanyile, said the pointsmen project would bring much needed relief on traffic congestion especially in the city centre. Candice Homen told Maritzburg Sun that the introduction of pointsmen would help, but only when accompanied by other interventions. “It is one thing to have law enforcement officers, but they need to be tough on road users. Currently there is very little consideration by all road users towards each other, whether pedestrians, motorists or taxi drivers for that matter,” said the well-travelled Homen.
Msunduzi Senior Manager, Kwenza Khumalo, said the project would be ready for rollout once the paperwork had been completed, hopefully before Christmas. He said the city’s traffic department has about 50 officers at the moment and the arrival of the ‘pointsmen’ would help the municipality to cope with the demand.

  AUTHOR
Maritzburg Sun Reporter

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