Not a single bicycle lane will be constructed going forward until every road in the City of Joburg has been tarred, if the city’s new mayor, Herman Mashaba has his way.
Mashaba announced this during his inaugural speech at the city’s Council Chamber.
Bicycle lanes, which began popping up in 2014 in some parts of the city, have been a topic questioned by opposition parties as the decision to introduce these lanes was taken while the city was still ANC-run under the leadership of previous mayor, Parks Tau.
In July last year, EFF members marched to Tau’s offices, decrying the city’s spending on bicycle lanes, while residents in informal settlements remained without basic services.
“I was concerned to note that R70 million has been set aside over the next three years for the development of bicycle lanes around our City. I intend putting a halt to this project. When every road in Johannesburg is tarred, maybe then we will look at bicycle lanes again,” Mashaba said in his speech.
Back in November 2014, the city’s then Executive Director of Transport, Lisa Seftel, said Joburg was committed to making walking, cycling and public transport the preferred modes of mobility among its residents.
At the time, the city said a 2010 survey of bike ownership in Johannesburg showed that 91% of the city’s households did not own a bicycle.
More than R250 million had been set aside at the time to provide dedicated cycling infrastructure in several areas of the city, including the Johannesburg inner city, Alexandra, Alexandra-Sandton, Sandton CBD, Rosebank and Diepsloot-Fourways.
Many residents in areas such as Sandton and Braamfontein, have complained that bicycle lanes remain virtually unused or their intended purposes, but are instead used for parking and illegal overtaking by taxi drivers.
“Transport plays a critical role in economic growth. We need to ensure that Joburg has well-functioning roads, storm water and public transport so that people and goods can move quickly around our City,” Mashaba said.