With Woodstock’s Old Biscuit Mill market becoming ever-more popular, traffic congestion and illegal parking have become big problems.
During an operation last month, traffic police fined 53 motorists for parking on yellow lines and disabled bays and 45 motorists for failing to produce their licences.
Ward councillor Dave Bryant said traffic police planned to take even tougher action in coming weeks, and he warned motorists to stick to the rules of the road.
“A large number of patrons are attracted to the popular and vibrant market each week but with limited parking space inside the facility, many members of the public resort to parking on the street around the market. This has given rise to much disruption on the roads as well as increased congestion,” he said.
Ongoing issues in Albert Road, he said, included double parking by loading vehicles, taxis and Uber drivers; parking on red and yellow lines; parking in front of homes; and aggressive car guards.
“These issues negatively impact visiting patrons and local residents alike,” Mr Bryant said.
Nurjahaan Dreyer, from Woodstock, said the area had become a “nightmare” on weekends with many patrons driving through the side streets searching for parking.
“They eventually land up wherever a gap goes open. I recently had somebody park in my driveway and not for a few minutes, for nearly three hours. I could not leave my house.”
She had called the traffic department to have the car towed but traffic officers had been swamped dealing with other illegally parked cars in the area.
David Adams lives in the upper part of Woodstock.
He said traffic had started spilling over into Victoria Road due to the congestion in Albert Road.
“Everybody is always heading in one direction and that is towards the Biscuit Mill,” he said. “The business itself can’t really be blamed as it has become very popular in a short period of time. The patrons should know better. If you can see that you are blocking a car in a drive-way, why would you continue to stand there?”
However, a nearby business owner, Fred Williams, said the Biscuit Mill should make a plan.
“We can’t say entirely that it’s not their problem, because all these people are coming to their premises. There is plenty of open pieces of land here that could easily be converted into a proper parking, instead one of these monstrous developments which just makes the area look very bulky,” Mr Williams said.
He, however, added: “No business owner would complain with the increase in numbers. Traffic can get hectic at times, but we can’t get everything we want.”
Mr Bryant has set up a meeting with key City officials to find a solution to the problem.
“The Biscuit Mill market has become a very well known, both locally and internationally. It is therefore essential that we work to improve the surrounding traffic environment for the benefit of visitors as well as the local community,” Mr Bryant said.
Managing director of Indigo Properties and Daddy’s World Group, Adrian van Deventer, said the Old Biscuit Mill and its management were “aware of and acknowledge” the traffic and congestion concerns.
He said they had secured an extra 50 parking bays at the College of Cape Town, directly opposite the market.
They had also approached the City’s law enforcement department to place their own officer outside the market entrance to assist. “Additionally, we’re working with the Woodstock Improvement District to assist in managing the traffic and congestion issues,” he said.
They would also notify the public about alternative modes of transport to and from the market.
“We will be encouraging, across all of our marketing channels, that weekend visitors employ these other means of transport, such as ride shares, the use of taxis, Uber and also public transportation.”
Residents can report by-law contraventions to law enforcement at 021 596 1999.