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JRA gets serious about school safety

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The Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA) is implementing traffic calming measures at more than 30 schools across Johannesburg to improve the safety of learners and encourage positive driver behaviour.
“We are concerned about the number of children that are knocked down, injured or killed by speeding vehicles and the JRA is implementing measures to avoid tragic accidents in future,” says JRA acting-MD Mpho Kau. “Traffic calming measures are a necessity at schools as they force drivers to slow down.”
High visibility speed bumps/humps and signs are the best way to indicate to drivers to reduce their speeds. This engineering solution is accompanied by road signs to alert drivers about the road hump ahead and to caution them to slow down. In other cases, raised pedestrian crossings or other calming measures are introduced to increase the safety of all road users.
More than 30 schools were identified for the construction of speed humps or raised pedestrian crossings and 13 of these projects have already been completed this year. These are the Sharonlea, Mulbarton, Cyrildene, John Mitchell, Gustav Preller and Sir Edmund Hillary primary schools, the Meridian School in Cosmo City, Marion College in Linmeyer, the Dominican Convent School, the North West Christian School, the Johannesburg Polytech Institute and the Jiswa and MC Kharbai special schools in Lenasia.
Schools that are next on the JRA’s list for speed humps or other traffic calming measures are Leitshibolo, Christ Church, Karabo, Itekeng, Vukani, Heerengracht, EW Hobbs, Nkone Maruping, Atamelang, Emzimvubu, Hitekani and Mashekene primary schools, the Anchor and Marlboro Gardens combined schools and the Tshadi Day Care Centre. Traffic calming measures will also be introduced on Mkonza and Msilinga Streets in Pimville and Legwale Street in Tladi.
The JRA is also appealing to communities not to install their own illegal speed humps.
“While we understand the community’s need to safeguard children and property from speeding and reckless driver behaviour, unfortunately erecting non-compliant speed humps without following due application and approval process, is illegal.” explains Kau, “These speed humps are generally not according to specifications, unmarked and bear no road traffic warning signage and therefore could be aggravating the safety risk for drivers and pedestrians alike.
“We would rather work together with the community, JMPD and the City’s Transport department to resolve the concerns through speed law enforcement, educational campaigns for road users as well as via due traffic calming application processes to enable our traffic engineers to determine whether the road is suitable for traffic calming measures.”
Kau says members of the public or organisations wishing to apply for traffic calming measures can follow the defined processes. The JRA’s engineering team will then investigate the roads in the area to determine suitability for traffic calming based on meeting warranted criteria, as laid down in the South African Road Traffic Signs Manual and the City of Johannesburg’s Traffic Calming Policy.
The analysis also looks at accidents as well as the geometric characteristics of the road and its function (type of users, transit artery, bus route, residential local road, Commercial Street, etc). A public consultation is included in the analysis.
Traffic calming will not be considered in front of entrances, in shade of trees and other physical objects during the day, where they are not illuminated by street lighting at night, on gradients in excess of 6-degrees, on gravel roads (cannot be painted and there is usually no street lighting), on Class 4 or higher Class roads, on designated public transport routes or within a specified distance of other control mechanisms such as traffic signals
Due to the high demand for traffic calming, installation of traffic calming in the form of speed humps is undertaken by the JRA on a strict priority basis, with commensurate funding.