“Sandton is the richest square mile on the whole of the continent and it’s still the address that corporations want to be seen at,” Craig Hean, Managing Director of Jones Lang LaSalle South Africa told CNBC Africa on Thursday.
This follows after the global real estate services firm, Jones Lang LaSalle, released a new study concluding that an additional 400,000 square meters of new office space will be developed in the district.
This includes a new 67,000 square metre Sasol head office, a 40,000 square metre building for law firm Webber Wentzel and a 36,000 square metre office for Alexander Forbes.
“If we equate that to work out how many commuters are coming into the area on a daily basis, we reckon it’s about 100,000. We anticipate it will increase to another 27,000 once all of the new square meters have been built,” explained Hean.
This results in over 9,000 more cars coming in and out of Sandton, adding to the existing traffic congestion on Sandton’s main roads.
“If we don’t improve the ways in which we use our vehicles and get to work, there may be problems with congestions at some of the critical intersections at peak times,” he said.
Simon van Jaarsveld, Associate at Arup Transport Group, stated that his company are currently involved in planning road upgrades for Sandton to make the area more accessible for motorists and pedestrians.
“There are road improvements that we’re looking at, the new thing is internal roads. Sandton has a lot of city blocks which makes it unfriendly for pedestrians at the moment. The idea is to break up those blocks by putting in mid-block roads, to take the access function and deliveries off the main corridors to the smaller roads,” he explained.
“There are also plans to upgrade the Marlboro off ramp to make that the more prominent access road into Sandton.”
However the upgrading of roads may not be the complete solution to traffic congestion. Van Jaarsveld also believes that the upgrading and developing of public transport systems will play a major role in alleviating traffic, such as the Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system.
“What we need to do is to look at public transport. The city is already looking at the BRT, Rea Vaya planning. At the momen,t it is being rolled out in stages and the success of it will grow as it is rolled out,” he added.
Also, the Gautrain station has proven to be a major success in the business district. The latest report by the Sandton Central Management District, estimates that between 16000 and 17000 users per day are coming through the Sandton Gautrain station.
“At the moment, 16 to 17 per cent of the Sandton office commuter population is making use of that facility [Gautrain],” added Hean.