Sky Bridges Policy valuable, but priority?

31 May 2012

It is with some surprise, that Future Cape Town notes the City of Cape Town’s draft Sky Bridge Policy issued by the Spatial Planning and Urban Design Department. Future Cape Town offers its qualified support for this policy, noting that the following issues need to be addressed.

While a valuable policy to have we feel that, in light of the plethora of urban issues that currently face Cape Town, this policy is not a priority. It can hardly be suggested that Cape Town is currently witnessing a multitude of bridges and in particular sky bridges being erected between existing and new buildings.

It is understandable that in light of the imminent expansion of the Cape Town International Convention Centre, which will possibly include both a sky bridge link and an underpass connection, that such a policy could be useful. If this is the intention, it should be made clear, but not form the foundation of a new policy.

Echoing the sentiments expressed in our statement on the City’s Tall Buildings Policy, Future Cape Town calls for a broader, and more inclusive, single Urban Design policy, to which specific chapters on Tall Buildings, Sky Bridges, and similar structure can be added.

“We would also call for a more direct approach to resolving the multitude of issues related to the public and urban realm in Cape Town, rather than trying to address these via a stand-alone Sky Bridges policy.”, says MD of Future Cape Town, Rashiq Fataar.

Grade separation, in all its forms, could then be addressed from a clear and coherent view of how to promote and support the concept of a vibrant public realm, rather relying on a strategy of enforce and react.

In its current form, the policy is stringent in its criteria and restrictions relating to sky bridges, especially given the relatively well-designed sky bridges that do currently exist. We consider a “last resort” approach to sky bridges to be unnecessary and overly cautious.

We are in support of policy’s “promotion of street-level interaction and activity” and appreciate “the awareness of negative separation of pedestrians from bustle of street life” which reinforce city’s aim to encourage activity at street level, but feel these objectives can be dealt with more directly through a public realm strategy that works for pedestrians, cyclists and business.


Issued by:

Media Office, Future Cape Town