The NKRA is grateful for the support provided in the 4th Street park by PAM GOLDING PROPERTIES and VISION TACTICAL SECURITY

NEWSLETTER 2 – 2009

Extended public transport in Oxford Road

Johannesburg is poised to benefit from a magnificent new public transport system – the Bus Rapid Transport system (BRT). This brilliant and long-overdue plan will provide dedicated bus-only lanes from Naledi in Southern Soweto all the way to Sunninghill, to allow public busses to carry people across Johannesburg quickly and efficiently despite rush hour gridlocks. The BRT will incorporate modern and well-lighted bus-shelters, and a range of other first-world innovations. Best of all, the BRT will run along Oxford Road on its way through the northern suburbs, so the residents of Killarney and Riviera will be in a prime position to benefit from this enormous expenditure of our rates and taxes.

The only problem is that Oxford Road has only four lanes in the Killarney stretch, and implementing the BRT according to the current draft of the plan will cause the rush-hour traffic to be squeezed down to just one lane in either direction.

What that’s going to mean for people who live nearby was demonstrated recently when Oxford Road was closed briefly due to the sink hole.

The residents of Saxonwold and Killarney and Riviera and other affected suburbs have voiced their objections to reducing the lanes in Oxford Road, and according to Councillor Ravid our objections are having an effect on the decision-makers in the Johannesburg Transportation Department.

The most practical long-term plan is for the City to expropriate a strip of land along Oxford Road to allow for four lanes of cars as well as two lanes for busses, but this will take a long time, cost a substantial fortune and seriously upset most of the people who live along that stretch of road.

Time is of the essence if this is to be completed in time for 2010, but the Environmental Impact public meetings are yet to be held, and there will then be a further 30-day period for objections.

Objections can meanwhile be made on the numbers 011 798 6000/ 6459, or emailed to reavaya@bohlweki.co.za.

The environmental consultant is Fezile Majola, who can be contacted by email at fezilem@ssi.co.za or on 072 379 4715.

You can also contribute to the Saxonwold residents’ online petition, which you can find at http://oxfordroad.safesaxonwold.org.
Councillor Ravid believes the objections of residents do make a difference, so please take the time to register your opinion and help to manage your future.

Other Important News:

2009 – the Year of Clean Streets!
The NKRA is delighted to welcome Nomsa Nene and Wendy Mechanik Properties as our new Sponsor! WMP will be sponsoring not only the newsletter (hence the new colour scheme) but have also undertaken to contribute toward our project to make 2009 the Year of Clean Streets.

On Tuesday 10 February a contractor with a bakkie was hired, and two heaped loads of rubble and branches and general debris were collected off the pavements of Killarney and Riviera. Unfortunately there was enough rubbish around to fill a third load, had the daylight lasted a little longer and the traffic between us and the dump-site been a little less congested. Nonetheless those two loads have made an appreciable difference to the appearance of the area. The NKRA is very grateful to WMP for sponsoring that clean-up project.

Nomsa and some friends undertook another clean-up, this time aimed at litter. Again it made a huge difference, but unfortunately litter reappears very quickly indeed.

WMP have also undertaken to contribute toward our project of hiring a casual labourer to continually sweep the streets of Killarney and Riviera and remove litter. If you know of a local resident who would be interested in undertaking this work, please let us know at wdford@global.co.za

Science has proved that people litter more if the area is unkempt or when there is already litter on the ground compared to when the area is clean and neat, so by keeping our own doorstep clean we can in fact influence the behaviour of the litter-bugs. It would therefore really make a big difference if every building would assume responsibility for maintaining the pavements in the vicinity of their premises.

Many buildings do a wonderful job on their pavements with neat lawns and colourful flower-beds, while many others at least keep their surrounding pavements swept and weeded. Dukes Court is currently making huge strides with their pavement clean-up, and Mentone Court have also made a huge difference to their immediate area in the last few months, to name but two.

Unfortunately there are those others who somehow manage to not see the mess on their own door-step. We have learned in Hillbrow that we can’t be complacent about things like littering – grime leads to crime.

The NKRA thanks Nomsa Nene and Wendy Mechanik Properties for their support, and appeals to all buildings to play your part in keeping our environment clean.

Feedback on our Traffic Projects:

Our on-going Traffic Project continues to bear fruit, albeit slowly. The turning arrows which the NKRA finally succeeded in getting installed at the intersection of Oxford Road and Riviera Road have already made a huge difference to rush-hour traffic turning across that solid stream of vehicles, and the traffic circle at the corner of 4th Avenue and 7th Street similarly makes a huge difference to traffic entering from the Killarney and Parktown sides.

Killarney Road continues to be a problem, and while the JMPD still visits us regularly, as soon as the officers leave the lawless attitudes resurface. Apart from a few dozen surprised and angry law-breakers who suddenly have a few hundred rands less pocket money than before, its back to business as usual. Of particular concern are the many motorists who completely ignore the stop streets and pedestrian crossings, thereby endangering their lives and the lives of others. These same people no doubt whine and complain non-stop about crime and lawlessness in general.

Since we can’t rely on some citizens to obey the law and to show consideration for others, we have resorted to proactive measures to “encourage” these motorists to take the law more seriously. We continuously appeal to the JMPD to send officers to our area, but in addition we have persuaded Council to install the now-famous “raised pedestrian crossing” in Killarney Road at the Clicks entrance to the Mall.

We have had so much positive feedback from residents about this measure, that we have requested the Council to consider building other such crossings elsewhere. The stop-street at the corner of Killarney Road and Third Street (outside Pick ‘n Pay) is particularly ignored and thus particularly dangerous, and that crossing is high on the list to be reinforced. Another request is being prepared for the building of a raised crossing in Main Road, somewhere between Riviera Road and North Road.

We have also requested other proactive traffic safety measures, including:
•    lengthening the island on the M1 off-ramp onto Riviera Road, to better channel the rush-hour taxi crush;
•    upgrading the traffic circle on 4th Avenue, to stop taxis short-cutting down the on-coming side;
•    adding cats-eyes to the existing island in Riviera Road, outside the petrol station, which is near-invisible after dark and which is hit regularly;

•    revising the traffic lights on Riviera Road, cnr Main Road;
•    building a traffic circle at the corner of Third Street and 4th Avenue, where the road zigzags causing a blind intersection;
•    building a traffic circle at the corner of North Road and Main Street.

A major issue is finding a permanent home for the two taxi “drop & go” points that service hundreds of workers and shoppers at the Mall. The current situation is untenable,  the Mall is unresponsive and a suggestion has therefore been made to demarcate a formal taxi pick-up area in 1st Street so as to remove the congestion from Killarney Road. Your comments would be appreciated.

Other things that are happening:

The Secure Zone project continues

The “secure zone project” continues to evolve. We have discovered that some of the services that were included in the original package are either not technically possible to implement in a residential area interspersed with public roads, or are just too expensive to be affordable for residential households.

The project has therefore been slightly redesigned, and the contract has been revised to exclude “impossible” services as well as to include valuable new services. The original contract is going to lapse due to impossibility of performance, but the project will continue under the new contract and will hopefully grow quickly now that those problematic issues have been removed.
If your building would like to join this project and would like more information, please contact us at wdford@global.co.za.

New business expands in Killarney
The Liberty Life Conference Centre in Anerley Road was purchased last year by the Astrotech training organisation.

The magnificent old Cape Dutch building includes a five-star kitchen and a full banqueting team, as well as lots of safe parking, and the company has recently expanded its range of services to include hosting corporate and private functions.

How to complain usefully!
In order to identify problems more quickly and efficiently, the City has established a range of reporting numbers for various concerns. If you notice a problem, don’t complain to your friends or to the newspapers, rather phone these numbers and complain to somebody who can and will do something about it:

•    All problems: 011 375 5555;
•    Traffic lights out of order – 082 827 8250;
•    Manhole covers missing – 011 688 1500;
•    City Parks Call Centre – 011 712 6600
•    All by-law infringements – Superintendent Makgotsi on 082 506 5691 (JMPD).

Illegal Aliens
Not all the illegal aliens in Johannesburg are human. Invasive plants cause a lot of damage to indigenous species, and as committed citizens we have a responsibility to assist in rooting them out (literally).
One particular proclaimed pest that flourishes in Killarney and Riviera is a type of fern, Nephrolepis exaltata or the sword-fern. This plant spreads rapidly, and adds little value other than merely looking green.

There are huge numbers of them in our area, and although they are popular with some gardeners because they grow like weeds, that’s because they ARE weeds.

Please would you all assist in making a concerted effort to get rid of these plants.