Knysna CBD Renewal Programme – Grey Street Project Update

Following the public engagement sessions held on 20 & 21 February 2018 to engage on the proposed Grey Street urban renewal upgrades, the draft Urban Design Framework (UDF) is being revised and completed as part of the conceptual and design development stage of the project (refer to Figure 1). Knysna Municipality and the design consulting team values all inputs made and would like to thank all citizens who made constructive recommendations.

The need for a traffic impact assessment is recognised by all as part of the design development stage and is currently being undertaken before making available the final draft urban design framework for final public and stakeholder inputs. The traffic impact assessment will include traffic counts, impact of proposed changes to turning lanes and parking configuration through detailed traffic modelling. The outcome of this assessment will recommend adjustments to the draft urban design framework to ensure the most optimal streetscape upgrade that improve the functionality of the Grey Street node.

The key elements of the proposed urban upgrade discussed at the public engagements included the following:

Road and pedestrian infrastructure upgrades

Public inputs emphasised that as a minimum requirement the road surface, sidewalks and crossings need to be upgraded with high quality materials and only commence after services infrastructure below the road surface is fully upgraded – something that has been taken into account during project planning. Traffic congestion is a major problem and the proposed changes need to consider improvement, not to be confused with increase, of vehicular traffic in relation to pedestrian needs.

The draft urban design concept intends to decentralize the flow of traffic to and from the taxi rank; improve congestion; and allow for facilities that accommodate public transport along the street. Precedents from across the world illustrate that pedestrianization of towns and cities is only achievable when public transport systems are given priority.

Parking

The public inputs highlighted the need for more frequent parking space for business owners and customers and at the same time called for restrictions on parking and introduction of a paid parking system to ensure improved regulation and management of car guards and street safety. In terms of design a number of citizens supports the proposal for angled parking included in the draft design framework.

Safety and security

The public felt that safety in all areas of Grey Street needs attention through regular law enforcement patrols, CCTV and active law enforcement and that the upper section required most attention. Traffic calming should also be introduced through speed restrictions and calming at intersections through well marked pedestrian crossings. The planned introduction of new LED street lighting to improve safety was also welcomed.

 Public open spaces

The engagement included support for functional upgrades to open spaces but on condition that it is policed and well maintained. Private land owners also expressed interest to develop more open space areas following the proposed public upgrades. The idea to allow businesses to sponsor gardens outside their premise was also raised for consideration.

Signage and street furniture

A new public signage master plan is currently being compiled by the Town Planning Department and will be implemented in due course. Public consensus suggest that uniformity and unique yet functional design in terms of signage and adequate enforcement of the Bylaw on the Control of Outdoor Advertising, Heritage & Building Aesthetics needs to be applied to create an aesthetically pleasing and effective street frontage. New designs and placement of refuse bins proposed by the consulting team were welcomed in public feedback and business owners emphasises that benches should only be located at specific areas such as mall entrances. For more information regarding this please contact Mr Hennie Smith hsmit@knysna.gov.za.

Urban art and landscape upgrades

There are opportunities for creation of urban art or urban landmarks in Grey Street and some members of the public welcomed this. Flat, paved areas can also be utilised. Members of the public and creative community are welcome to engage the municipality on proposals to be considered. A garden task rehabilitation task team has been established all gardens in the CBD has been captured on a GIS map and any supporting relating to landscaping to horticulture etc. is welcomed from the public. A meeting has also been held with the Knysna Arts Society to discuss art installations at key points as urban art projects as tourist attractions and points of interest. Please contact the Economic Development office if you would like to get involved.

 A detailed report capturing all public comments received at and after the engagement has been done and reviewed by the consulting team and municipal staff members to ensure that all views are taken into account during the design development and planning stage of the project.

Budget

After delivery of the final UDF, detailed preparation for construction work will commence and the public, especially affected businesses will be informed of the exact start date, timeframes and temporary disruptions that will be caused during the construction phase. The upgrade of the Grey Street water main infrastructure will be done as one project with the street, sidewalk and complementary street furniture upgrades when construction commences. Budget for the project has been allocated to the value of R18 million over two financial years and implementation will therefore take place in stages.

Knysna Municipality welcomes all inputs by community members in the wider CBD working on projects that contribute to urban renewal. For more information on the programme please contact Ilse van Schalkwyk at ivanschalkwyk@knysna.gov.za

 

ENDS

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