MT PLEASANT residents have expressed concern over the decision by the University of Zimbabwe to close its gate on Mt Pleasant Drive to prevent commuter omnibuses from entering the campus to pick and drop students and moving the bus rank to a busy intersection.
The institution is said to have established a new pick up and drop off point opposite the intersection of Mt Pleasant Drive and St Kilda Road, which is not safe and could result in accidents because the intersection is a busy one.
“Good morning Marion (Mverechena Mt Pleasant district officer). Could you please tell us how University of Zimbabwe has been given permission to close the gates on Mt Pleasant Drive, down near the halls of residence where buses, kombis come in and out all the time and move it up immediately opposite the intersection with St Kilda Road? Having a busy entrance right opposite a busy intersection surely is going to cause a number of accidents!” said a concerned resident.
Residents, discussing the issue on a Mt Pleasant residents group, also said food vendors were contributing to the chaos at the new pick up and drop off point in addition to littering.
“Also, the food vendors have moved up as well, dumping their rubbish down St Kilda Road and adding to the chaos,” observed a resident.
Added another resident: “They are also leaving a huge mess with all the litter.”
The residents said customers buying from the food vendors were also at risk of being knocked down by cars.
“Thanks for bringing this up, my complaint once again is the food vendors. They are encroaching on to the road and ‘shoppers’ are at risk of being hit by cars.”
Residents said the new pick up and drop off point was not only on a busy intersection but it is on a blind rise putting road users at great risk.
“I would like to add that the new entrance is not only opposite a busy intersection but also on a blind rise — adding significantly to the danger of accidents!” said a resident.
The residents demanded that the City of Harare should take action to relocate the bus rank and stop disorderly vending.
“In addition to that money exchangers and vendors are already there. Something to stop this mess must be done.”
Residents said kombi drivers were already compounding the situation by parking at the new UZ entrance while blocking the view of other motorists driving from and into St Kilda Road.
“Afternoon Marion. Do we have a clearer picture on the situation at the junction with St Kilda Road and Mt Pleasant Drive? The problem is now compounded by kombis parking on the verge opposite this new entrance to UZ, obscuring clear view of vehicles coming from and into St Kilda Road.
“A disaster just waiting to happen! Children are now walking to and from Mt Pleasant High School using this junction!” read another message from the resident who first raised the matter.
Other residents said what was obtaining at the new entrance to the UZ was what previously used to happen at the junction of Mount Pleasant Drive and Pendennis Road while some suggested the bus rank should be established inside the campus.
“As students/staff at UZ now have to rely almost, if not completely on kombis surely they should be allowing kombis to park and offload/receive passengers from designated points inside the campus gates?!”
A suggestion was also made to move the entrance to Churchill Road, which was said to have more space saying the current arrangement poses danger to both the UZ students and the public using the roads.
“My humble contribution is that the UZ should create space for safe dropping/pick-up of students. This danger is for both the public and UZ students,” observed a resident.
Noted another one: “At one time UZ had their own buses that went through campus, stopping at several designated points on the way and out onto Churchill and stopping several times into town.
“The same coming back. Of course this is now out of the question but they could ensure unobtrusive parking for kombis that does not encroach and cause a dangerous situation to the public.”
Mt Pleasant District officer Mrs Marian Mverechena said the roads superintendent would visit the place to check what was going on and report back to the residents. But by Thursday this week, residents had not received the report back while efforts by Suburban to get Mrs Mverechena’s comment were fruitless.
The University of Zimbabwe authorities were also not available for comment on the matter.