Living in the Corridors of Freedom of a Caring City

By Mzukona Mantshontsho
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Member of the Mayoral Committee (MMC) for Transport at the City of Johannesburg Councillor Christine Walters on Wednesday 2 October released two documents at the launch of Transport Month 2013 at the Old Elephant Building at the Johannesburg Zoo.
Under the theme of: “Living in the Corridors of Freedom of a Caring City”, she launched the Strategic Integrated Transport Plan Framework (SITPF), which sets the City’s transport vision and strategic thrusts for the next period and the Complete Streets Policy and Guidelines (CSPG) for public comment – how the city wants to transform its streets to be accessible for all road users including pedestrians, cyclists, the old and the young car and public transport users, as well as the various transport month activities to take place in the city during October.
Speaking at the launch about what all of this means to the ordinary citizens of the City in the 130 wards, she said: “Transport is the backbone of the City’s economy and impacts on every citizen; hence the council will highlight and celebrate various transport projects during this month”.
“The theme is in line with the City’s spatial vision that looks at ensuring that people live closer to their workplaces and are able to work, stay and play without having to use private motorized transport,’ she said.
“One of the highlights will be the seminar on Tuesday 8 October on Transit Orientated Development to be addressed by international speakers on how the introduction of public transport leads to increased property development and economic activity along the corridor,’ she added.
“The transport sector has increasingly become one of the best drivers for economic growth and social development, which necessitates that local government, puts in place necessary infrastructure to keep up with the current trends,” she concluded.
The Rea Vaya BRT will be extending its services from Monday 14 October with another 134 buses and 12 new routes to areas such as Cresta, Florida, Noorgesig, Coronationville, LeaGlen, Parktown and Yeoville.
The idea of the Corridors of Freedom came from the City’s record budget of over R40 billion for the 2013/14 financial year consisting of operational expenditure of R36.3 billion and new capital spending of R7.5 billion. Member of the Mayoral Committee for Finance, Geoffrey Makhubo, delivering the budget said: “Johannesburg is the first municipality in South Africa to present a multi-year capital budget of R30.1 billion. The self-funding part of this Budget will grow to above 65% from a current average of 39%”.
“We are able to achieve this despite the challenging global and regional economic environment,” he said. “In the current year our finances continued to strengthen, bolstered by sound financial strategies and forward thinking by the city,” he added.
The COJ’s achievement can be attributed to effective financial management and sound planning of our operations. “Within the City of Johannesburg there is a strong commitment to prudent financial management at all levels; ensuring tightened controls, strengthened policies and procedures and the attainment of a clean audit,” said Makhubo.
The budget followed on the Thursday 9 May State of the City Address by the Executive Mayor, Councillor Mpho Parks Tau. In this he made major announcements on the City’s intention to reshape its urban form, make a decisive break with apartheid spatial planning and construct a future based on equity, accessibility and sound economic principles.
At the core of this approach is the emphasis on Corridors of Freedom. These corridors will be developed to support inclusive, high-density, mixed-use developments to reduce commuting times and costs. During the course of the year, the COJ will be consulting with residents to finalise the nodes of the Corridors of Freedom with focus on the medium term being Soweto to the CBD (along Pert Empire); CBD to Alexandra; Alexandra to Sandton; Turfontein node and the mining belt. The most efficient urban form is compact, mixed land use with extensive public transport network that includes high intensity movement corridors and with attractive environments for walking and cycling.
The budget contained detailed programmes for spending by Johannesburg’s departments and Municipal Entities over the coming three years. More than 50% of the operating budget is allocated to sustainable services and strategic infrastructure.
The operating budget for public safety will grow by 5.1% to R2.3 billion. The focus is on crime prevention operations targeted at violent crime in particular and the continued roll out of the JMPD 10Plus initiative – the JMPD 10Plus initiative being a community based policing initiative which will see the deployment of at least 10 JMPD officers in each of the COJ’s 130 wards. This will be followed by the multi-disciplinary City teams moving into the wards to start with the implementation of the new strategy. The teams will not only be responsible for crime prevention but also report incidences of urban decay such as potholes, water leaks, faulty traffic signals, illegal dumping and derelict buildings.
There are a few different forms of transportation in South Africa. Some forms of transportation are road transport, railways, airports, water transport, and tramways. South Africa experiences a lot of deaths on the roads. As of 2013, about ten thousand people die on the roads each year. The national speed limit in residential areas is between 50 and 80 kilometers per hour and 120 kilometers per hour on the national roads and freeways.

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