Stop Dorp Street dualling, Stellenbosch residents’ plea

Last day for comments against Dorp Street development

Today is last day to comment on the draft Comprehensive Integrated Transport Plan. There are many concerns with the plan including- destruction of historical character of place of Dorp street, cutting of access to residents and businesses, not addressing non-motorised and public transport issues before creating a highways through town and with design engineering flaws that many experts think will make traffic in Stellenbosch worse.

It is mainly residents and business owners in the Lower Dorp Street region that will be directly impacted by this development while the historic character of Stellenbosch will also be impacted. The dualling of this intersection has been under discussion for many years and residents now have a final opportunity to voice their concerns. The intersection that is due for expansion is between the R44 and the R310. In the process barriers will be erected in the middle of the road that would prevent access to Weidenhof and Stadler Streets from the R44.

As in  so many cases before, residents feel that the Stellenbosch municipality has not consulted with the community in a transparent way and are infuriated by the way the development is handled.

The municipality is sold on the perception that the road widening is part of the municipality’s transport strategy to alleviate traffic congestion in the Central Business District.

“The project aims to accommodate for existing traffic as well as traffic from new and proposed developments in the area along the Adam Tas Corridor,” Stuart Grobbelaar, municipal spokesperson, said in an earlier statement.

He claimed that the first consultation was in 2016 and that the project as a whole is part Roads Master Plan that was open for public participation and approved by the Council in November 2022.

The Stellenbosch Ratepayers Association said public participation was only for the road plans and opened only in the last month. The concerns of residents and business people of Stellenbosch

Concerns have been raised over the potential impact of the proposed road development on the historic character of the area. Opponents of the project argue that the dualling of Dorp Street cannot be viewed in isolation and must be considered alongside other proposed developments, such as the Adam Tas Corridor and the proposed Technopark link road. These developments may negate the need for dualling and could be implemented without affecting the historic centre of the town.

According to the municipality construction will commence in early 2024, pending completion of the development rights, designs and consultations. It remains to be seen how the situation will develop and whether an acceptable compromise can be reached between the interests of the travelling public, local businesses, and the cultural heritage of the area.

Objectors to the project said in a petition that while they acknowledge the necessity of enhancing and advancing Stellenbosch, they firmly hold the view that the suggested proposal possesses numerous drawbacks and shortcomings that will adversely affect the gateway to Stellenbosch, its uniqueness, and the prosperity of the local businesses and inhabitants.

Furthermore, it overlooks an excellent chance that will leave a lasting impression for future generations.

Their objections are based on the following reasons:

  1. The historical nature of Dorp Street is an important aspect of Stellenbosch’s history, and we feel that the proposed plan would destroy that history and negatively impact the town’s visual appeal. \
  2. The removal or relocation of oak trees and canals that have been in the area for long periods of time is of concern to us. These features are an essential part of the town’s character, and their removal would be a great loss.
  3. Accessibility to Weidenhof, Blersch Street, and Oude Rozenhof building will be completely cut off if the proposed plan is implemented. Alternative routes have not been provided, and the impact of redirecting all traffic from the multitude of businesses and residents who live and work in this area will be negatively affected. This will result in an economic cost to the area.
  4. We are concerned about the impact assessment of redirecting all this traffic on alternative routes. Has this been considered, and if so, what are the findings?
  5. We have not received official documentation on whether this plan has been accepted by Western Cape Heritage without public participation from residents and business owners. We believe that residents and businesses in the area need to be consulted before any such plan is approved.
  6. We believe that alternative routes have not been explored enough to alleviate the traffic problem on the R44. The Techno Park bypass and the Alexander street intersection are viable alternatives that will alleviate traffic flows more effectively than widening lower Dorp Street.
  7. We strongly believe that alternative road points need to be properly examined before Dorp Street is affected and changed, and we are convinced that these alternatives will have a bigger impact on alleviating traffic flows.
  8. The plan we have seen as presented in the CITP is basically including a highway on the bottom part of Dorp Street, which we believe will also negatively impact the area visually and commercially. 9. We also believe there is an oversight in the plan as the road is widened from the R44 side but comes back into the original Dorp street sizing at the Adam Tas intersection. We believe this will cause more of a bottleneck as larger vehicles, trucks and more cars will now use this road and get congested on the exit to Adam Tas.

To address our concerns, we propose the following:

  1. A smaller duelling with two lanes either way with oak trees and canals kept intact.
  2. A slow traffic zone without large utility vehicles and trucks, which can be redirected via Adam Tas road further down to alleviate traffic in Dorp Street.
  3. Larger Trucks should be redirected away from Dorp street.
  4. Alternative routes be implemented, i.e. Techno Park bypass and the western bypass.
  5. Bicycle and pedestrian lanes to keep the character of Stellenbosch and alleviate congestion.
  6. Have a continuation of upper Dorp Street into the lower part of Dorp Street that can tie into the larger Adam Tas corridor development and maintain the character of our town and history.
  7. Provide a traffic circle at the Stadler Street Dorp street intersection, which prevents stop-start for cars and encourages traffic flow. This will also address the access problem for Weidenhof Street, Bersch Street and Oude Rozenhof building residents and businesses, while still giving access to the new development but also to residents on the opposite side, which have now been excluded.
  8. It is crucial that we uphold the character of Stellenbosch and preserve the lower section of Dorp Street as a hub for tourism, work, and residence. The town’s economy depends heavily on tourism and its success is essential for the local economy. In order to achieve this, it is vital that the proposed plans for the road align with the historical character of Stellenbosch. By doing so, we can ensure a successful and sustainable future for Stellenbosch’s tourism industry.

We believe the proposal put into the CITP for lower Dorp Streets duelling will destroy this opportunity and must strongly be revaluated. We understand the importance of balancing commercial and heritage preservation, and we believe that our proposed solution provides a fair and reasonable compromise

The historical l character of the entrance to Stellenbosch through the iconic Dorp Street will for ever be aktered by the construction of the multi-lane intersection.

6 Replies to “Stop Dorp Street dualling, Stellenbosch residents’ plea”

  1. i support the proposed and NOT WHICH MUNICIPALITY WANTS TO DO. we need to protect our heritage while we try and modernize

  2. I do not think the short sighted solution will be a longterm gain for Stellenbosch.
    Rather widen the road between Toyota/Mercedes all the way to the Adam Tas turn off just past Alexander street.

  3. Enhance and advance Stellenbosch, without destroying the historical character of Dorp Street.

  4. I do not endorse the proposed dual carriage way in Dorp Street between the R44 and the R 310. As mentioned above, it does not take into consideration the businesses and residents who will have to make use of cumbersome alternative routes to get to their destinations and will seriously impact on the historic visual appearance of the present Dorp Street lined with oaks and having the “leivore” which are not found in many places in the Western Cape. I am not against new ideas, bit then they must be well thought through. The slipway from Van Rheede into the R 44 is a good example of a necessary improvement without enormous visual impact.

  5. first clean up the rivers, then fix Van der Stel Sport club, then ckean the outskirts of the town not only the CBD then make a study of the historical buildings and history of Stellenbosch then we can maybe only maybe talk about Dorp Street

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Leave the field below empty!