We Do Not Want Parking Management On The Main Road In Franschhoek
Franschhoek is a village, a tourist hot spot village. It has been a tourist hotspot village for at least 15 years now. It has always had a high flow of cars in and out of the village during this time, apart from 2020 and most of 2021. Furthermore, it has numerous large trucks travelling through it seeking to avoid the toll tunnel on the N1 highway outside Paarl.
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Parking availability has always been an issue on the main street, one that both villagers and tourists cope with on a day-to-day basis. We do not want a Parking Management System implemented and we do not want Parking Tariffs which go straight into the Stellenbosch municipal coffers.
This is the problem with being part of and ruled by, a municipality from over the mountain, far away. They have their best interests and not ours at heart. Sure, they supply us with high-quality services, for which we pay rates. They are not supplying us with quality services out of the goodness of their hearts or as a favour to us. We pay for them. And now, they want us to pay for parking.
Paying for parking is not parking management, but rather parking exploitation for profit. It is not going to manage the steady flow of traffic but will produce a steady flow of income, heading back over the hill.
One can sense that the municipal council sitting in Stellenbosch have only their interests and not the villages by this simple fact highlighted below. The council decided on this as item 11.6.1 taken at the 7th council meeting on 22 August 2022, however, the notice for public comment seems to have been issued only a matter of weeks ago on 12 February 2023, leaving a very short space for objections. Why did they not notify us when the decision was taken? Why wait 6 months? Why only allow such a short timeframe to object and comment?
One, therefore, imagines that it is a “Fait Accompli”, that comments and objections are mere formalities to make us feel that we have a voice and say in the matter when it has already been decided on our behalf that this Parking Management Scheme will be implemented regardless.
Thus we are subject to the blight that is the new democratic order that has plagued this country since its inception in 1994, namely, that those elected to office, no matter the party, become rulers and not governors.
There is a vast difference between these two concepts. Rulers rule over the people, governors govern for the people. The first has the interests of the rulers at heart, and the second has the people’s interests at heart.
Here is the likely scenario of what will happen if, or I should say when, this parking management system is implemented. People will simply start parking on the other non-managed streets around the main road. I am not talking about the municipal free parking area, but the residential streets around the main street.
What then happens during festivals where visitors park everywhere leaving no parking for residents on the streets outside their houses will quickly become a daily occurrence. Garbage disposal trucks will not be able to navigate the roads around the central village due to parking congestion on both sides of narrow residential streets. Aggravation and road rage incidents are bound to increase. Soon we will have parking fights over available free parking, especially outside residences surrounding the main streets.
I do not think the council has thought this through, I don’t think they have considered the consequences. All they have seen is an income-producing opportunity, which in the context of the modern South African political and economic landscape, trumps all else. It is not about Parking Management, as the scheme will not solve any traffic issues, it is simply all about the MONEY to be made, loads of it.