Ken Lever, our DOCRRA committee member, reviewed the plan, attended the public virtual meeting, and received input from local residents. He then compiled a report with his findings, comments, recommendations and queries, which he submitted to the Municipality as input for the final plan.
So far, there has been no written response from either KDM or SMEC, however, we have been advised that the Strategic Transportation Study (STS) is being amended and updated at present for presentation to the KDM Council in early May. Council then has to assess and advertise the contents of the study to the general public before making a decision on whether to accept the STS in its entirety, or only part of it. There is therefore a long period of review and referral ahead of us.
In the meantime, we are trying to get the KDM Engineering Department, and specifically CEO Musi Sithole, to let us know what exactly is being planned for the problem roads and intersections in the existing residential areas between Ballito/Sheffield Beach/Salt Rock/Umhlali that are NOT included in the transport study.
We will continue to liaise with KDM and SMEC and advise our DOCRRA members of any developments and/or progress!
The contents of the report include the following:
- There appears to be little reference to any interventions or improvements along the coastal/beach strip between Ballito and Sheffield Beach – i.e. the areas east of the M4/Simbithi Drive/N2. Why?
- There appears to be no mention of the long-term eThekwini Plan to divert the M4 around the sand dune affected areas of La Mercy/Desainagar/Casuarina/Westbrook. Is this still intended? If so, would it affect traffic flow along the south end of the Dolphin Coast area, including the approach to the Ballito CBD.
- There appears to be little reference to “holiday traffic overload”. The population of the Dolphin Coast doubles, or even triples, over Christmas/New Year, Easter, and the school holidays. Bottlenecks and congestion exist at Ballito Village (which is at present a dead-end/cul-de-sac), Shakas Rock and Salt Rock beaches. This needs to be dealt with in any traffic study. After all, local & international tourism is vital to the Dolphin Coast economy – Greater Ballito exists because of the Beaches.
- The study appears to us to be far too timid or vague about north-south transport and traffic along the coastal/beach strip. A long-term plan for the Dolphin Coast should include for a continuous beachfront roadway from the Tongati River Bridge all the way through to Tinley Manor Beach. This is key if access to our fantastic beaches and shoreline are to be fully accessible and therefore fully utilised. This will of course mean a serious review of our LUMS and long-term Town Planning which also needs to seriously tackle the problem of oversized gated estates blocking access to our beaches. We have far too many huge and enclosed estates in our area blocking both north-south and east-west communication and transport.
- Our whole developing coastal strip, referred to as the Dolphin Coast, suffers badly from the serious lack of a logical traffic grid, thus limiting and blocking north-south and east-west traffic flows. Many of our estates are very large, and totally block any through movement to alleviate bottlenecks such as Ballito Drive/BP/Simbithi Drive/Leonora Drive and Leonora Drive/Ocean Drive, etc.
- What is the road type classification for Ballito Drive, Leonora Drive, Ocean Drive, Shakas Rock Road (P339), Salt Rock Road (P330), and Sheffield Beach Road (P474)? Are they classified as Class 3 roads? And if so, why are they not indicated for any action in the Study?
- When exactly were your traffic counts carried out? There is a significant difference between traffic flows during the holiday seasons, the off seasons and the school holidays. The traffic counts also refer to morning flows but do not seem to refer to evening flows. The M4 approach to Ballito CBD from the south (Durban and Umhlanga) is seriously congested every working day between 4pm and 5.30pm. The widening of the M4 should help but really all it does is increase congestion potential at the top of the hill and around the Enterprise iLembe island.
- The outline proposal for the Ballito Drive/BP/Simbithi Drive/Leonora Drive congested bottleneck appears to us to be inadequate and requires a lot more investigation and design input. No account seems to be taken of the anticipated 1500+ vehicles pouring out of Ballito Hills and those accessing the new Reddam School. All this traffic seems to discharge onto the narrow roadway behind Ballito Junction limiting access to and from the Ballito and Shakas Rock suburban areas. We strongly recommend that serious consideration be given to creating a super circle or circus around the Enterprise iLembe island, i.e., 2 to 3 lanes in one direction only, around this great island, somewhat like the traffic flows around circles/circuses in London or Paris.
- We can see no reference in the STS to adaptions and extensions of the railway network. There appears to be no spurs into the suburban or light industrial areas to allow for any increase in rail commuting. We also recommend that more stations be introduced to encourage much more use of commuter rail services – present and future.
- We also could not see any clear reference to commuter taxi movement or standing areas in the existing commercial and residential areas. At present, commuter taxi congestion in the Ballito CPD area is increasing and is uncontrolled because of very limited facilities.
- Going back to traffic flows and existing congestion along the coastal strip east (east seaside) of the N2, we assume that notice & action will need to be taken regarding the establishment of a Government Fee-Paying Senior School and at least two Government Fee-Paying Junior Schools that are desperately needed in the Greater Ballito area if we are to attract young professional/technical oriented families to boost economic and social development. This will clearly impact on any traffic, or transport, or town expansion plans.
- Although there is some mention of footpaths/sidewalks/pavements in the outline cost analysis, very little mention is made in the summary of the Study. We also have “pavement bottlenecks” such as the pedestrian route past the Ballito Fire Station and BP Garage through to the main traffic light intersection. There are also serious problems for pedestrians along Salt Rock Road and Shakas Rock Road which we sincerely hope will be dealt with by any Traffic Plan in the near future.
- There is no mention whatsoever in the STS of cycle paths for bikes and for electric mobility scooters and carts!! And, of course, a localised on-off minibus, or tuk-tuk circuit needs to be introduced. One way of reducing vehicle flows and congestion is to encourage more use of bicycles and electric mobility scooters.
- Please clarify intended access off the new extended M4 motorway, especially where it passes existing, established properties – including Churches and Estate main gates. Will there need to be a slip road off the 4-lane M4 roadway? Concerns have been raised by both All Souls Church and Brettenwood, as well as existing commercial/industrial units along Moffatt Drive.
- Please can you clarify the meaning and implication of your statement that the study has been related to “ESC policy based on COTOTMH15”.
- Our biggest concern remains the apparent lack of consideration and detail for the existing Residential and Beach Front areas between Zimbali and Tinley Manor. And we strongly contend that our biggest single asset along the Dolphin Coast remains the Beaches. Therefore access, congestion, safe parking, etc, etc, along the Beach Front should also form part of any Transport Master Plan.