Woodstock – Pretty as a Postcard

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Woodstock is a Heritage Area – the aesthetics of the area are protected by law, where changes to the street-scape (walls, fences, house façades) must have planning permission. Walls should be permeable (posts and railings, etc) to allow a consistency of appearance. A railing fence is also more secure – criminals can get up to any mischief behind solid walls.

Graffiti Art

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Art or vandalism? Like porn, you know it when you see it… The graffiti art in Woodstock is getting tagged on, so let’s hope the artists come back for a touch-up.

Queens Park on a Sunday

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While we may regret that the public swimming pool was eventually demolished, at least we now have a safe and pleasant place to take our kids, dogs and picnics. Kids party on Sunday 11 December.

Upgrades and changes to Old Quarry (comments due by 28 Nov)

Council is proposing upgrading the “Public Open Space” of the Old Quarry next to Upper Roodebloem above the N2.

All the details are in this PDF doc (hard to extract, it’s a scan of a printed letter).

OldQuarry_plan

Don Pedros Closed

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After half a year under its new management, Don Pedros has been closed. Not a lot of information on it, but posts on the Facebook page talked about debts incurred by previous management (?). Since then there’s been a few “Save Don Pedros” nights, but in vain.

This is sad for Woodstock – which needs vibey venues – although there had been numerous complaints about Don Pedros holding live music nights when it’s liquor license did not allow this, and loud, rowdy behaviour by its patrons in the streets in early hours of the morning. Attempts by UWRA to engage with manager, Vernon Cupido, by email and letter were not responded to.

The Facebook posts from the Don Pedro’s page on Facebook were:

Sad sad news. Don Pedros has been forced to close its doors due to the fact that new management can’t pay debts incurred by the previous management. We apologise for any inconvenience. We hope that you’ll continue to party in the spirit of Don Pedros wherever you are…
Like · · Share · 2 November at 18:04 via Mobile ·

Our favourite cultural hotspot is under threat of being closed in the next week or so. Join the Don Pedro family this weekend in an attempt to keep everyones favourite restaurant open.
Drink specials all weekend. Don’t forget about open mic on Sunday :)

Like · · Share · 2 November at 21:48 ·

Reprieve…for now.
We need as much support from all of u to keep Don Pedros open. As of tomorrow, November 3rd, we’ll be serving breakfast from 9.30am till 4pm. We’ll have traffic Jam from 3pm onward, with drink specials. We need as much support as possible over the weekend.
Come support Don Pedro’s. more info call 0214476152 …

Like · · Share · 2 November at 22:37 via Mobile ·

Rendering the Rat Run Unrunable

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UPDATE: NOTE that input must be submitted via UWRA or directly by end of November!

The main arterial roads out of the City are jam-packed at rush hour. The billions spent on the N1 and N2/M3 upgrades have seen little or no change in the daily bumper-to-bumper rivers of cars trying to flee the City after work. Upper and Lower Main Roads (oh, ok, Albert and Victoria) are two lanes wide, but barely passable with double-parked cars and stopped taxis and people driving like brainless cows.

So what’s new? Well, the increasing hordes rat-running through Woodstock, Walmer Estate and University Estate to get around the sclerotic arterials. City of Cape Town’s Roads Department is looking to do something about it after years of increasingly strident complaints from residents and civic bodies. Ward Councillor Brett Herron organised a public meeting at the Civic Centre to allow the Roads Dept to explain the results of their study, and what they proposed to do about it on Tues 8th Nov.

There are four main routes for rat-running: all start at the Chester Road entrance at the edge of District Six, and variously run along Upper Cambridge Rd, along Chester and into Coronation, exiting either to the M3 via Upper Roodebloem or onto the N2 at the Holiday Inn, or via Roodebloem onto the N2; or the extremely twisty Searle-Warwick-Hay-Mountain Road run. There are other routes, but these are the biggies in terms of clear rat-runners (rather than local residents returning home).

Turning Nerina into a one-way has helped a lot to reduce speeding and rat-running past the school and clinic, but there are still many vehicles that ignore the one-way and take a chance.

The stunningly lacklustre performance of Traffic Services (aka “the traffic police”) is not helping – under-resourced, under-managed and under-whelming, Cape Town’s law enforcement on the roads is spotty at best, so any solution needs to assume visible policing will not be central.

Possible Solutions

Sean Glass of the Transport Department (don’t forget Cllr Herron is Mayoral Committee Member for Transport, Roads & Stormwater, so this may explain some action happening here at last) gave a presentation, with two main options:

  • Option 1: A boom across Chester Road from Keizersgracht between 16h00 and 18h00 – this would require a boom be built, and manned every day. This would prohibit any vehicles except emergency vehicles and government ministers late for sunset drinkies entering Woodstock during peak hours. Not great if you’re a Woodstock/WE/UE resident, and requires substantial cap-ex and op-ex spend.
  • Option 2:Regulatory signage – essentially a no-entry sign at the Chester Road entrance for 16h-18h00 – this is cheaper, but requires regular law enforcement at a very busy intersection. Also a major inconvenience for locals coming home.
  • Option 3: Regulatory signage ‘inside’ the suburb to allow freer movement for locals, but makes rat-running difficult. No-entry signs 16h-1800 would be placed on Upper Melbourne Road prohibiting entry into Coronation, Chester and Eden Roads, and on Upper Mountain stopping passing through Rhodes Ave. A further no-entry 16h-18h00 would be placed where Queens Road enters Hat Street. A ‘no right turn 16h-18h00 would be placed at the bottom of Upper Mountain to stop access to Roodebloem Rd onramps to the N2.

What do you think? Council wants to get feedback by latest end-November, so Email word@woodstock.org.za or visit the WoodstockZa Facebook page (please don’t paste into the Group, it needs to be shut down and everything moved to the Page).

With regard to other hot-spots for residents, especially those with speedster probelms, Upper Cambridge Road has had traffic calming measures (essentially speed bumps) approved and is now waiting funding (which may take six months or more). Other roads (Mountain, Roberts, etc) are being considered for more traffic calming.

In terms of enforcement, Cllr Herron acknowledged the terrible state of Traffic Services generally in Cape Town, and said it is being addressed (although no specifics forthcoming). What will help is that two neighbourhood Safety Officers per Ward are being put in place. This sounds good, although Ward 57 is most of the City Bowl suburbs, so a massive, densely populated area. These two should start work in the next few months once training is done. Metro Police have also motivated that reservists be authorised to issue tickets in their areas for illegal parking, etc. This could make a big difference to easing congestion and tempers.

So – look at the proposals, give it a think, give your feedback. To see the proposed rat-traps in Option 3, check here (click for full-size version).



More on Booze Hotspots

The saga of liquor licences continues. After asking for feedback from Woodstock residents, opinions received were mixed – many felt that more entertainment/social spots was a good thing, many hated the disturbance and upset bars caused for residents. The take-home seems to be that the further people live from these places, the more keen they are to have them (as they’re not the ones being woken up at 1:30am by drunken shouting).

The situation has developed as many feared – despite the owners/operators of Hoodwinx and Don Pedros making assurances that they would do their utmost to operate according to liquor licence legislation, both establishments have been continuing to operate illegally (or at least semi-illegally). Don Pedros has also seen numerous complaints from neighbours because of noise and disturbance.

This is going to be a long battle – the conflicting desires of people wanting to party versus people wanting to sleep, and the obvious profit motive of bar owners wanting to sell more booze. UWRA’s position is that entertainment establishments are good, with the proviso that some very reasonable limits be observed – not serving people outside on the side roads and keeping noise down after 11pm.

We need bar owners to come to the party on this one, which they’re not doing.

Exit: Taxis

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It appears that Excite Taxis has moved its operations from the top of Mountain Road – no formal communications have been received, but for the last month or more there have been no cars parked outside, cameras have been removed and a family appears to be living there. This is a small but important victory in the quest to keep Woodstock residential, and prevent the blight of creeping commercialisation and industrialisation spreading from the edge of the city.

Biker Cops

Yeah baby! Cops on bikes. No, not CHiPS-style (a cultural reference that will go over the heads of anyone under 30), they’re on bicycles. Woodstock SAPS officers are now patrolling on two wheels. This is a great initiative – it raises visibility of policing, they can cover more ground, but still helps officers develop a sense of who’s who, and who’s dodgy. WID (Woodstock Improvement District) and Nils Hansen of UWRA, and owner of Woodstock Cycle Works down near the Good Hope Centre, are assisting with maintenance of the bikes. Nice job.

Word on Woodstock Dec’10

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NEWS UPDATES


Swimming Pool Development

You’ve probably seen the landscaping work going on at the old Queenspark Swimming Pool site. This is the first step of returning the land to the community as a “quality public open place”. Details are a bit thin, but the rough sketches seen from Council show it will be grassed with trees and a hedge on the ‘downhill’ side, and some steel benches. Completion expected by February 2011.
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