Empire-Perth Corridor development gains momentum

Westbury Clinic under constructionWestbury Clinic is one of four clinics currently being built by the JDA along the City's emerging Corridors of Freedom. (Photo: Elias Nkabinde)

The development of the Perth-Empire Corridor, connecting Soweto with central Johannesburg, is set to step up a gear, with infrastructure spending expected to grow to R300-million in the 2016-17 financial year.

Construction of Westburg pedestrian bridgeConstruction of the Westburg pedestrian bridge gets under way in February. (Photo: Elias Nkabinde).This was revealed when the City of Joburg and Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA) held a feedback session, led by Transport MMC Christine Walters, Development Planning MMC Roslyn Greeff and JDA Chief Executive Officer Thanduxolo Mendrew, at the Westbury Recreation Centre on Saturday, 7 May.

The Empire-Perth Corridor between Soweto and central Johannesburg is the first of three new Corridors which aim to "re-stitch" Johannesburg into a united, cohesive city characterised by high-density residential developments along strategic transport corridors that will enable people to live in easier reach of their workplaces, schools, essential services and recreational facilities.

The Corridors programme uses transit-oriented development (TOD) to transform the City's spatial layout and citizens' relationship with it. By reversing the spatial legacy of apartheid, it seeks to create equal, sustainable access to opportunities for all the people of Johannesburg.

The Empire-Perth Corridor is one of three priority corridors for which strategic area frameworks have been approved, the other two being the Turffontein Corridor south of Johannesburg, and the Louis Botha-Katherine Corridor connecting Parktown, Alexandra, Sandton and suburbs further north-east.

More than R77m spent on Empire-Perth phase one

Artist's model of the new bridgeArtist's model of the new bridge, showing how the bridge will create a new community space at the same time. (CLICK ON IMAGE FOR LARGER VERSION)More than R77-million has already been spent in the first phase of the Perth-Empire Corridor development, particularly on recent and ongoing developments in and around Westbury.

These include construction of the R20-million Westbury pedestrian bridge and park, which are nearing completion, construction of the R20-million Westbury Clinic, a R10-million upgrade of Union Stadium, improvements to Westbury Library, and catalytic public environment upgrades along key thoroughfares in the area.

Speaking at the feedback session, JDA Chief Executive Thanduxolo Mendrew said the projects formed part of the Empire-Perth Corridor Strategic Area Framework, which aimed to provide communities with affordable mixed-income, higher-density housing within more liveable neighbourhoods.

High-quality non-motorised transport links

The Westbury BRT station on Fuel RoadThe Westbury BRT station on Fuel Road. Rea Vaya's network will form the backbone of the City's Corridors of Freedom. (Photo: Elias Nkabinde)"High-quality non-motorised transport links will be created and infrastructure and security improved," Mendrew said. "The City has prioritised development investment within wards 69 and 82 in Westbury as part of the critical interventions in the city."

He said the Westbury pedestrian bridge project, incorporating an amphitheatre, outdoor gym and play area for children, was on track for completion by July-August.

"The next phase will include upgrades of electricity and sports facilities and the provision of social housing."

The Corridors of Freedom programme, adopted in 2013, is key to Executive Mayor Parks Tau's Growth and Development Strategy 2040. In his most recent State of the City address, Mayor Tau hailed the programme as one of the ways to promote a "new economic democracy" as the City implements spatial justice in Johannesburg.

Source: JDA reporter / Gauteng Province Department of Roads and Transport