New proposed parking facility under fire

Don’t park in CBD

Stellenbosch residents are upset – again through a proposed development by the municipality and its plans to convert the big parking area behind the town hall into a three story parking facility.

The proposed parking facility is in direct conflict with the town’s accepted Spatial Development Framework, Integrated Development Plan and a comprehensive array of other policies and best practices aimed at “alleviating traffic.”

Plans have surfaced indicating that planning for this parking garage will soon be opened for public discussion and already many voices have surfaced against such a proposal.

A coalition comprising the private sector, individuals, and civil society – including Young Urbanists, the Active Mobility Forum, and Stellenbosch Fietsry – have expressed their strong opposition to the proposed development of new parking spaces at Erven 1962-RE, 1969-1976, 1954, 6402, and 6636, located in the heart of the CBD. Instead, they advocate for allocating parking outside the CBD.

Further, given the feasibility study done for the Eikestad Parking Private Public Partnership and Stellenbosch approved municipality policies, namely Spatial Development Framework 2019, Comprehensive Integrated Development Transportation Plan 2022 – 2026, Non-Motorised Transportation Master Plan 2020 and best practices across the world when it comes to solving congestion and best urban governance practices, the coalition find the aims of “alleviating the major congestion” and “parking challenges” experienced in the Stellenbosch CBD” as contrary given the location and negative impact of this project.

The development contradicts the following policies as follows:

Spacial development framework 2019

The prioritization of park-and-ride facilities along arterial routes, as outlined in the Stellenbosch Spatial Development Framework (SDF) approved by the Council in November 2019, underscores a strategic commitment to mitigating private car usage within the heart of Stellenbosch and its key employment zones. This initiative is designed to catalyze a modal shift towards public and shared transportation options, thereby aiming to significantly reduce congestion in the Central Business District (CBD) and bolster sustainable urban mobility.

In this context, the proposed development of new parking spaces at specific erven within the CBD starkly contradicts the objectives set forth in the SDF. By introducing additional parking infrastructure directly within the CBD, this development risks undermining the SDF’s broader vision for reduced car dependency and enhanced public transportation and non-motorized transport (NMT) usage.

Such a development would not only compromise the intended mobility benefits and spatial development plans but also detract from the efforts to stimulate economic and service developments along vital corridors like the Adam Tas Corridor, envisioned as part of a holistic approach to urban growth and mobility.

Comprehensive Integrated Development Transportation Plan 2022- 2026
The development of a large parking facility in Stellenbosch’s Central Business District contradicts several key objectives outlined in the Comprehensive Integrated Development Transportation Plan 2022- 2026. These objectives emphasize sustainable mobility for all, land use and transport integration, reduced congestion, and the promotion of public and non-motorized transport (NMT).

The proposal for extensive parking contradicts these objectives by potentially increasing congestion, encouraging private vehicle use over public transport and NMT, and undermining efforts to minimize the impact of through traffic and reduce the reliance on extensive on-street parking of private vehicles. Furthermore, such a development could detract from the goals of maintaining the character and heritage of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek towns, and counteract initiatives aimed at promoting car-free living in the municipal area. This is in direct opposition to the envisioned sustainable and integrated transport system that unlocks economic opportunities and is accessible, safe, reliable, and affordable to all communities serviced by the municipality.

Non-Motorised Transportation Master Plan 2020

The proposed development of a large parking facility in Stellenbosch’s CBD directly contradicts the strategic objectives outlined in the Stellenbosch NMT (Non-Motorized Transport) Masterplan. The Masterplan emphasizes the municipality’s commitment to developing walkable and cycle-able environments that are safe and contribute to the economic vibrancy and social health of communities.

The introduction of a large parking lot would increase reliance on motorized transport, exacerbating challenges such as the dominance of infrastructure favouring motorized options, unsafe crossings that prioritize private vehicles, and the obstruction of sidewalks. This move would undermine efforts to reduce traffic congestion, improve public safety, and enhance the accessibility and dignity of all community members, particularly those from outlying and previously disadvantaged areas. It would also counteract the strategic goal of transforming the Stellenbosch CBD into a more liveable, sustainable, and inclusive urban environment, as envisioned in the master plan.

According to the coalition, the proposed development of a large parking lot in Stellenbosch’s CBD stands in stark contrast to the town’s commendable efforts towards reducing car dependency, enhancing urban livability, and promoting environmental sustainability. It would not only exacerbate congestion and pollution but also signal a step backward in the town’s journey towards a more sustainable, inclusive, and vibrant urban future.

“”The proposal to introduce a large parking lot in the CBD appears counterproductive and misaligned with the town’s demonstrated commitment to environmental sustainability and community well-being. The evidence of Stellenbosch’s achievements in promoting living closer to jobs, enhancing NMT friendliness, and pioneering South Africa’s first-ever Electrical E-Sharing Bike program argues strongly against the development of infrastructure that would encourage increased car dependency.

“Our collective mission is to promote sustainable urban development, active mobility, and the enhancement of our community’s quality of life. We believe that the development of more parking spaces runs counter to these goals for the following reasons:

  • Encouragement of car dependency:
  • Detrimental Impact on urban space:
  • Adverse effects on active mobility
  • Impact on local businesses and economy:
  • Contradiction to sustainable urban development goals:

“We strongly urge the Stellenbosch Municipality to reconsider the proposed development of parking spaces at the specified erven within the CBD, in consideration of its significant negative implications for sustainable urban planning, active mobility, and the broader community’s well-being.

“The question arises: what is the purpose of the council adopting forward-thinking policies to guide the town’s development if we do not adhere to them? By aligning our actions with these established policies, we have the opportunity to collaboratively foster an urban environment that is inclusive and sustainable, serving the interests and well-being of current and future generations. We believe that by considering alternative solutions that support these policy goals, we can ensure Stellenbosch evolves as a model of sustainable urban development and mobility,” the coalition said.

9 Replies to “New proposed parking facility under fire”

  1. I am not surprise with the latest attempt to develop this pieces of land. There was in the past various attempts including the infamous Tender 34 who was also part of 9 pieces of municipal land out for call for proposals. I can recall how Atterbury whose also partly owners of the Eikestad Mall tried their outmost best to buy over the proposed development. Its common knowledge that one of the owners became an DA councillor and subsequent Mayco member for infrustructure. He was later removed because they finally realised there was conflict of interest. That was not before he managed to renewed the lease contract between the municipality and Eikestad mall.
    It is also common knowledge that the current mayor is pro- development and have her own blue eye boyes , which include Atterbury .
    So the question is, if Atterbury is any way involved in this new plans??? I bet my money on it.

  2. I totally agree that we cannit have another parking garage in the CBD. use outer lying open spaces and shuttle service of golf carts running at a regular tempo.

  3. I signed the petition circulating. What an absolute insult to the historical centre and smalltown spatial development plan agreed to through legitimate public participation processes over many years of citizen involvement. Save our CBD from this!!

  4. Given the arguments pointing to policy inconsistensies so neatly outlined in the article above, what sense is one to make of the proposals of the Municipality to build a three story parking lot?

  5. The problem is that their are way to many cars in Town. Alternative plans are available to limit cars in town. We can learn a lot from ather overloaded cities around the world in this regard. They get it right without infuencing the businnes in town

    1. Good article and very relevant. The proposed parking garage is the last thing Stellenbosch now needs or wants. If the council goes ahead with this it can only be because of some vested interests driving this as suggested in the first comment? Follow the money.

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