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Millions pumped into Corridors of Freedom

 

The re-stitching of Johannesburg – the process of moving away from apartheid spatial planning to the creation of mixed-use high density residential developments that will bring schools, services, work opportunities and other benefits closer to the people – is gathering pace, with more funds being poured into the unique, game-changing initiative.

Bulk infrastructure development is already under way along three identified Corridors – Empire-Perth, Louis Botha Avenue and Turffontein – with emphasis placed on optimised land and infrastructure use to support mixed-use developments, high-density accommodation, office buildings, retail and recreational facilities. The new-look Johannesburg will comprise well-planned transport arteries linked to interchanges. Parks and green spaces will form an integral part of these developments.

The multi-year initiative, undertaken in line with the City’s Growth and Development Strategy 2040 (GDS 2040), was propelled to a higher level on Tuesday when Member of the Mayoral Committee for Finance Councillor Geoffrey Makhubo allocated more funds to two City departments playing a key role in the developments. The Transportation Department – which is responsible for, among other things, the rollout of the Rea Vaya bus rapid transit (BRT) system, the backbone of the development of the Corridors of Freedom’s network – received an operating budget of R1,5 billion for the 2015-2016 financial year and a capital budget of R3,5 billion for the next three years.

Delivering his 2015-2016 Budget Speech at the Sandton Convention Centre, MMC Makhubo said the budget would fund a number of projects, including the Rea Vaya rollout of Phase 1C from Parktown to Alexandra and eventually to Sandton, Johannesburg’s second-largest central business district.

The Development Planning Department – which is responsible for the overall coordination of the Corridors of Freedom and the implementation of the Inner City Roadmap – received an operating budget of R303 million for the coming financial year and a capital budget of R1,3 billion for the next three financial years. The MMC said the intense planned infrastructure developments would see population numbers spike along these strategic Corridors.

“On average, the population in the three corridors will increase from 7 000 people per square kilometre to over 41 000 people per square kilometre in the long term. Residential developments within the Corridors need to support a range of typologies, densities and incomes,” he said.

The City’s social housing entity, JOSHCO – which was allocated an operating budget of R138 million for the new financial year and a capital budget of R1,9 billion for the next three years – will develop several social housing projects over the next three years within the priority corridors.

MMC Makhubo said significant opportunities were opening up for the private sector, especially in real estate development.

“We urge investors and partners to work with the City to grasp these opportunities,” he said.

He said to make public transport a viable option along the Corridors of Freedom, the City aimed to increase Rea Vaya’s daily passenger trips from 23 000 to over 45 000 by 2016.

“The pain you are enduring on Katherine Drive today as we construct the dedicated lanes for Rea Vaya will be worth it in addressing congestion in Sandton. In future, more people will opt for Rea Vaya as a reliable public transport option,” said the MMC.