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Hundreds sign petition for Clarence Drive

A petition to find an alternative route during strikes and to save the scenic Clarence Drive from losing all its beauty has been signed by more than 700 people.

Clarence Drive is a very scenic coastal route that connects Gordon’s Bay and Kleinmond. What makes the road so unique is its fynbos environment and the fact that it contains 77 bends along a 48 km stretch.

But this road that attracts cyclists, bikers and tourists in their droves has come under the spotlight, as it is being frequently used as a diversion during strikes in Grabouw and Bot River, according to the petition, created by a concerned Overstrand resident who prefers to remain anonymous.

“This route and its environment have become a substitute for the N2, mainly due to violent unrest in areas such as Grabouw and Bot River,” the petition says.

“Every time there are labour-related or municipal protests, this area is ‘under siege’ because the traffic is simply diverted along this route instead of continuing over Sir Lowry’s Pass.”

The petition’s creator says Clarence Drive was not engineered to carry this traffic load, and it effectively means that this unique fynbos environment, with its fauna and flora, is becoming increasingly fragile.

“At this rate the status of the biosphere could be called into question,” the petition reads. “We urge the Western Cape Government and our mayors to act on the recent mandate from its voters and stop allowing violent protesters to continue their tyranny in our region. If we do not take action now, much is at peril.”

Nathan Arendse, Western Cape Acting Director of Traffic Law Enforcement, agrees there was an increase in protest action over the last year.

“We saw the sporadic increase in protest action, not only in the Overstrand area but countrywide,” he said.

“Unfortunately, the perpetrators normally target the N2, which is the main arterial towards Overstrand, Cape Agulhas and the Southern Cape.

“When there is protest action at Grabouw or Bot River, only two alternative routes can be used to access the Overberg. It will be only through Clarence Drive and the R45 Franschhoek pass.”

Arendse does not agree with the creator of the petition that Clarence Drive cannot handle the increased volumes of traffic on it.

He says: “It is my opinion that Clarence Drive has been designed to accommodate traffic, if taking into account the traffic volumes through festive season periods in relation with the few hours of protest actions.

“These protest actions disturb the flow of traffic and officers are doing everything in their power to restore the free flow of traffic.”

Sign the petition to protect the world-renowned Clarence Drive from the unrest-related N2 influx on www.avaaz.org

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