Church Street, the most popular walking, eating and shopping street in Stellenbosch, will experience a reversal when the direction of the traffic flow is changed. At present, motorists drive “down” the street (from the Moederkerk in the direction of the Braak) but this could change soon and the church will once again be focus of Church Street.
According to Mr Deon Carstens, who is involved with the project to make Church Street friendlier for cyclists and pedestrians, the next step is a municipal notice that will inform villagers of the envisaged change. As soon as comments regarding this move have been received and processed (with no material objection being recorded), the direction of the traffic flow will change.
There is a practical advantage in that motorists will in future be “forced” to look for parking closer to the church when they see that the lower parking places are taken. At present, motorists circle the one or two street blocks nearest to the Braak endlessly in search of a parking place.
Carstens says this is part of a project to render Church Street friendlier, safer and cleaner. “I think the street is relatively clean, but not friendly and safe enough.”
Should the plan to change the flow of traffic prove to lead to “enormous chaos”, it would be easy to reverse the decision, Carstens says. “Then no money will have been spent.” If it should be met with approval, the next step would be to establish parking on one side of the street only, instead of the existing parallel parking on both sides of the street. This will immediately make the street safer for pedestrians and for cyclists, says Carstens.
In the past, various attempts to make Church Street “friendlier” failed because of the large number of parties involved.
Carstens does not expect that the street will be closed to cars in the long term because parking is the town’s biggest problem. There are no alternative places where present users can leave their cars.