By Surihe Gaomas WINDHOEK In a drive to root out inconsiderate driving by taxi drivers and heavy congestion on the city’s roads particularly in the Central Business District (CBD), the City of Windhoek intends to convert three major streets in downtown Windhoek to one-ways. As part of the three-phase implementation, the project would entail the conversion of Werner List Street into a one-way north bound between Dr Frans Indongo and Bahnhof streets (Phase 1), conversion of Werner List Street into a one-way northbound from Tal Street through Frans Indongo (Phase 2) and the third phase would involve improvements to Fidel Castro and Werner List to cater for taxis. Announcing the latest developments at a media briefing yesterday, Manager of Corporate Communications, Ndangi Katoma, said the latest infrastructural developments are as a result of the outcome of the Public Transport Plan and Central Business District Traffic Circulation Study conducted in 2004. The aim of the study was essentially to compile, develop and model a transportation land use study to address the planning and public transport needs of the city. The study served as a guidance plan for public transport in relation to current and future road infrastructure needs. Lately, inconsiderate driving behaviour particularly by taxi operators, such as parking offences and constantly obstructing motorists, affects the free flow of traffic in the problematic city centre area, along Independence Avenue and the one-way Dr Frans Indongo Street. This becomes even more congested and a headache for other road users especially during rush hours. However, as result of this traffic congestion, the city felt it appropriate to implement restrictions to the activities of taxi drivers plying the route along Independence Avenue, between John Meinert and Fidel Castro Streets. This move also forms part of the outcome of the Public Transport Plan and Central Business District Traffic Circulation Study undertaken two years ago. Following the display of appropriate road traffic signs, awareness was done to sensitise taxi drivers and commuters about these regulations. Such law enforcement action commenced officially from January 9. However, although there was general ease in the traffic flow within the CBD, the city council became aware that the diversion of taxis from Independence Avenue into Werner List presents another challenge, which ultimately leads to Werner List being turned into a one-way street instead. Through the new developments on the roads, taxi facilities will also be made available on Werner List Street. Transgressions of traffic rules by taxi-drivers have become a common phenomenon in the city and there are other plans afoot to deploy extra traffic officers in the CBD. “As to the continuous ignorance of traffic signs by motorists, the city police assigned specific superintendents to conduct selective law enforcement to ensure that motorists comply with the said road markings,” said Katoma. Similarly, he advised pedestrians, drivers and taxi operators to adhere to road rules and to abstain from boarding or alighting from vehicles at inappropriate places, which could endanger themselves and other road users.
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