THE majority of residents attending a meeting to discuss the proposal of the conversion of Hunt Road into a one-way system last week, gave the project the go-ahead.
At the meeting held at Hunt Road Secondary School on Wednesday evening, Carlos Esteves, deputy head of Road Systems Management from eThekwini Municipality, gave those present some background information about the project, which he said was a second phase of the initial Musgrave/Essenwood one-way road system implemented in March 2005.
“A study undertaken regarding the one-way system on these roads identified the need to extend Hunt and Che Guevara (Moore) Roads, and the proposal to implement this now comes after the municipality was approached by the private sector,” he said.
Esteves said it will be a 24-hour conversion if the decision was to go ahead, although it will take several weeks for motorists to acclimatise to the change.
Addressing the residents at the meeting, Tony Whitfield from MCA Architects, who are working with the owners of Glenwood Village Market, Mervelee Investments Ltd, in their plans for potential expansion of the shopping centre said the upgrading and refurbishment of the centre is one of the main drivers for the one-way system in Hunt Road as there is a lot of traffic on the road.
“My clients have recognised the importance of engaging with the City to improve the situation before the upgrade. We feel the upgrade of the centre is vital as we are falling behind in upgrading, and we need to stay relevant and attractive to customers and potential tenancy. Glenwood SPAR needs to expand and two years ago the owners purchased the property next door to the centre for the expansion,” he said.
Seniel Pillay from ILISO Consulting, a company which has been appointed by the developers to undertake a traffic impact assessment, said the company looked at the impact of the one-way system implemented in 2005 and a post-implementation review study undertaken in 2006, and confirmed the benefit of expanding the system into Hunt Road.
“In line with expansion of the shopping centre, it is critical to alleviate congestion on the road and improve traffic flow, which can be done by implementing the one-way system. It will solely be on Hunt Road and will not affect Che Guevara and Lena Ahrens Roads. We found the implementation of the system would mean minor infrastructure changes such as signal timing and phasing and minor geometric changes, however the conversion will mean additional on-road parking and more parking within the centre. We feel the implementation will facilitate economic development and growth and it makes sense,” he said.
Talia Feigenbaum from Urban Econ Development Economists said a survey of local businesses and residents in Hunt Road as well as those in Musgrave and Stephen Dlamini Roads, was undertaken by the company. The survey found that the two-way system of Hunt Road poses many challenges, especially when exiting the shopping centre. She said the survey found there would be no significant economic impacts from the extension of the one-way system, and the conversion would mean increased convenience and time savings with reduced congestion.
Following the meeting, Esteves said once the report is received with queries and responses, there will be a city internal meeting to decide as to whether or not to proceed. “If the decision is to proceed then a implementation timeline with a deadline date will be published and notices issued to affected public with adverts into local papers,” he said.