The City of Johannesburg has called for public comment after proposing a number of changes regarding suburban road closures.
Road closures are currently legislated by the Security Access Restrictions Policy, which was first introduced in 2014.
Since then a number of new developments have occurred, resulting in a need to revisit these policies, a city spokesperson told BusinessTech.
The biggest of these changes relate to the access of pedestrians to these areas as well as the use of automated security features, said the City.
“The Security Access Restrictions Policy, 2014 does not make allowance for the use of automation as part of the security closures and also requires that pedestrian gates at permanent locked gate to be open for 24 hours,” it said.
“Some stakeholders have felt that the City’s policy thus does not take into consideration the changing nature of crime and that in some areas the use of automation could enhance the security of residents. Therefore the Draft Policy proposes to allow the use of automation under certain conditions.”
Other proposals include the issues of tariffs paid to the City for the administering the closures, emergency vehicle access, and improving how applications for road closures are processed.
Automation and pedestrians
Under the new proposals, “automated” pertains to equipment or devices at a security access point, which require no direct human control.
“The proposed changes are that automation can be used under certain criteria, i.e. width of the road, compliance with the requirements of people with disability, among others,” the City said.
However, it will still require some human intervention so as not to actively restrict access to anyone, it said.
“If automation is used by some to deny access, the City can withdraw the authorisation to operate the security access control closure.”
A motivation can now also be submitted for the closing of pedestrian gates at night if the pedestrian gate is located within 300 meters of a manned boom gate and is close to dangerous areas like highways, informal settlements, spruits, etc.
“The decision to lock pedestrian gates is not taken lightly, but if the association can prove that indeed pedestrian gates are used as getaways for crime then the City will definitely consider it,” it said.
“What the City also considers is the needs of pedestrians and cyclists access to an area, so the City will have to go on site and confirm the times of pedestrian gate closure, prior to agreeing to times.”
Effect on traffic and pedestrians
According to the City, the amendments should have minimal impact on road users (both private vehicles, motorists and pedestrians) as the it endeavours to balance the need for security and freedom of movement of its residents.
“All other property owners (businesses, etc within the enclosed areas) views are taken into consideration as the public is given a time to comment on any security closure.”
“The final decision on a closure takes into consideration all those views and the City stipulates terms and conditions to ensure that the rights of all are protected.
“The City often mediates between parties to come to an amicable solution regarding particular closures.”
The City also emphasised that it did not subscribe to a policy of separate development.
“Therefore, if crime is not an issue in an area, and SAPS cannot verify the crime statistics, the closure will likely not be approved by the City,” it said.
You can read the full list of proposals here.