Advice and Opinion

Would changes in traffic flows impact property values?

With the densification that the City of Cape Town is working towards in the greater Cape Town area, and the likely increase in traffic flow that will come about as a result, is there likely to be a negative impact on property values or the lifestyle in certain areas?

The infrastructure of the roads in many areas in Cape Town is relatively small and often roads are quite narrow, says Lanice Steward, managing director of Knight Frank Anne Porter, it makes sense in some cases to redirect traffic flows and change roads to one way traffic to alleviate the drastic increase. Would this impact on the value negatively or positively?

The initial perception would possibly be negative but the reality, said Steward, is that it is likely to have a positive impact, as in cases where homes which are in cul de sacs, with little or no traffic, are often more in demand than those on open roads.

Traffic flow on one way roads tends to be smoother, and access in and out of an area would be more efficient because there is no crossing of traffic to exit the suburb, she said.

As is done in many gated residential villages, the “one entrance and exit” of a suburb, i.e. if you entered on one road and followed the main route through the suburb and had to exit on another road, would help control the security aspects of that area as well.

“If you know which direction a car is likely going to have to go to leave the area, the chances are higher that if any crime is committed, the culprits will be caught at the exit,” said Steward. “Or the mere fact that there is a limitation to the access in the direction one can drive in, might deter those elements from entering the suburb in the first place.”

This could allow the densification, which has been made possible by the new zoning laws, of a suburb to take place more easily. Many areas now allow more built space on land than before in the greater Cape Town area.

“You would alleviate the snarling traffic in certain areas if they should become very built up,” she said.

This has now become evident in certain parts of Vredehoek, where the roads are very steep and narrow, but the area is quite built up, said Steward. Certain of the roads have been redirected (changed to one-way traffic only) to make way for the new MyCiti bus route (which is due to become fully operational later this year).

“Perceptually, this might be an irritant if you live on the road that has suddenly become a one way and now have to drive in the opposite direction of what you want, but in busy traffic times, it might make it much faster to leave the area and to return later. Security of the area is also easier to control in this way, if there is only one obvious entrance and exit, there is less chance that criminals would enter if their route is predictable,” she said.

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