Queue at M3 Paradise Road / Rhodes Avenue Traffic Lights

The traffic signals at Paradise Road / Rhodes Avenue have been the subject of a lot of discussion on the radio, social media and emails.

The route along Rhodes Drive from Constantia Nek to Kirstenbosch upper gate, Canterbury Drive, and Rhodes Avenue from Canterbury Drive to the Paradise Road is a popular rat-run for motorists.
The issue for motorists using Rhodes Ave/Drive is that the duration of the green signal for Rhodes Ave is shorter than what they previously enjoyed.

Investigation revealed that the traffic signals at the Rhodes Ave intersection with the M3 at Paradise Road are not short-timing; this is because traffic on the M3 freeway has preference over traffic on the Rhodes Avenue/Drive connector road.

The Left Hand Turn [LHT] signal from Rhodes Ave will only appear when there is a service request for vehicles turning off the M3 outbound into Rhodes Ave.  In other words; if there is no M3 Right Hand Turn [RHT] service request in the outbound lane from the City, then the Rhodes Ave LHT arrow to the M3 inbound towards the City will not be displayed.

In the context of the immediate network the duration of the green signal for Rhodes Drive is correct and will not be increased. There is good reason for this strategic decision.

Historically, during the AM Peak, the amount of time afforded traffic from Rhodes Ave was inconsistent with the relative volumetric loading between Rhodes Ave/Drive and the M3 Inbound. Consequently, the M3 inbound queue would back up as far as Kendal Rd (and beyond), more than 6.5 km. In contrast, the queue on Rhodes Ave would be in the order of 300m or so.

Motorists are by-passing the M3 and driving through the suburban areas using Spaanschemat, Ladies Mile and Brommersvlei roads (to name a few) all in order to ‘push-in’ at the front of the queue at Rhodes Avenue.

The large disparity between the queue lengths was untenable. Taking into account that the M3 queue is a two lane queue whilst the Rhodes Avenue queue is a single lane queue, simplistically, the number of vehicles delayed on the M3 was roughly 1600 and the queue on Rhodes Avenue was less than 40. Given the foregoing it is incumbent on the City of Cape Town to take remedial action in the interests of a fair distribution of delay and opportunity.

The remedial action taken was to implement the signals plan that is now in force. Since implementation of the current signals plan the queue on the M3 inbound has been decreased to 3.3 km (roughly 850 vehicles) with Rhodes Avenue queue increasing to 1.7 km or roughly 220 vehicles.”

This strategy should discourage motorists from using Rhodes Drive and Rhodes Ave as a rat-run to Paradise Rd, and encourage motorists to use the M3 instead.

Drivers are reminded that rat-running through the local residential roads in Fernwood is not permitted and the following restrictions apply between 6:30 and 8:30.

  • No left turn from Rhodes Ave into Willow Road,
  • No right turn from Rhodes Ave into Rose Street, and
  • No access from Kirstenbosch Drive into Riverside Rd, Newlands.


Councillor Liz Brunette

City of Cape Town: Ward 62

Constantia, Bishopscourt, Fernwood, Wynberg west, Plumstead west

Cell: 082 823 6584

Office: 021 444 8118