Councillors want hiking spots reinstated

PALAPYE: Despite the dangers associated with the reinstatement of the old Francistown hiking spot in Palapye, councillors have demanded the stop to be put to use again.

Francistown hiking spot which was opposite Choppies Shopping Complex and the Serowe hiking spot which was next to the Puma Filling Station were closed last March to pave way for the construction of the Palapye new bus/taxi rank.

Palapye Administrative Authority (PAA) senior assistant council secretary, Koti Molefhi, told the councillors during the Sub-Council meeting Tuesday, that the Francistown stop could not be used because it did not comply with road traffic regulations.

Molefhi further said due to public demand the council executive had recommended that, the Shell hiking spot replace the old one. “Recommendations from the findings are that the Shell bus stop has the same functionality as the previous one as it does not obstruct traffic and does not present a traffic hazard to road users transiting in the A1 highway,” he said.

He added that the Shell bus stop will serve as a hiking spot for Francistown A1 transit and bus shelters will be installed in due course.

He also highlighted that there is a new mall coming at the Shell Filling Station, therefore the stop will not be isolated hence will be safe.

Kagiso Bishop, a senior roads engineer at PAA also informed councillors that it would be dangerous to reinstate the old hiking stop again as analysis shows that the traffic volume in Palapye increases rapidly.

He said transport regulations demand that there should be a distance of at least 200m space between the major junctions and the hiking spots, which he said was not the case with the Francistown and Serowe hiking spots.

 “If the hiking spot is too close to a major junction, traffic won’t flow properly because there would be too much congestion. But if there is a hiking spot, other vehicles will be forced to stop at it and cause congestion for other road users,” explained Bishop.

However, councillors were not convinced and some pointed fingers at the council executive saying councillors resolutions are never taken seriously. Most of them complained that the Shell bus stop is too far from the shopping complex and travellers will not be safe there while waiting for transport.

Councillor for Maunatlala, Salome Lesole, told the council that closure of the stop will inconvenience the constituents and that the Shell bus stop is too far and not safe for travellers. Lesole said planners should have considered weather conditions when relocating the bus stop. Councillor for Lerala West, Gabagopole Sebele, said the hiking spots could not be replaced by the bus rank as there are people who travel at night when there are no buses. He said every shopping complex should have a hiking spot adjacent to it.

Kabo Ketshogile, who is councillor for Lerala East also wanted the hiking spots to be reinstated regardless of the dangers they posed.

He said: “The hiking spots have been there even before the Choppies Complex was built, why remove them now? People are suffering and they are complaining to us everyday. The hiking spots should be reinstated; drivers will follow road signs as they have been doing.”

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