A section of Eisleben Road will be a car-free zone on Sunday 2 April 2017, with the celebration of Open Streets Day in Mitchells Plain. Read more below:
The Open Streets Day in Mitchells Plain follows on from the very successful Open Streets days that were hosted in Langa and Bellville in October and November 2016 and in the Cape Town city centre in January this year.
‘The City supports Open Streets as a platform to demonstrate the potential of streets by making some of them temporarily car-free. Open Streets days give residents the opportunity to experience streets as safe and welcoming public spaces where we can connect, socialise, and participate in activities. As cities around the world evolve to become more human-centred, we must also begin to reimagine our city and turn it into a space not only built and meant for vehicular traffic, but more so for pedestrians and cyclists,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee for Transport and Urban Development, Councillor Brett Herron.
Open Streets Day in Mitchells Plain is the last of the 2016/17 summer series when Eisleben Road will be closed to traffic between Wespoort Drive and Spine Road from 12:00 until 17:00 on 2 April 2017.
‘Residents are eager to experience Eisleben Road as a pedestrian-only zone. This is clear by the large number of requests and proposals we are receiving from people wanting to organise activities, perform, and sell food. There is a real desire to use our streets differently,’ said Open Streets Cape Town (OSCT) Managing Director, Marcela Guerrero Casas.
‘Over the past six months, Capetonians from all over participated in the Open Streets days in King Langalibalele Drive, Voortrekker Road, and Bree and Longmarket Streets, filling the space with pedestrians, cyclists, skaters, dancers and other activities. We are looking forward to replicating this experience in Eisleben Road,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Area South, Councillor Eddie Andrews.As with every Open Streets Day, the formula is simple. OSCT ensures the road closure is in place, with the permit requirements met, and works to mobilise residents and friends of the organisation to bring a fun and free activity to the street.
‘The City’s Transport and Urban Development Authority wants to see Open Streets grow into a habit rather than an event. For this to happen, both the public and private sectors must come on board and commit to exploring possibilities. Creating an integrated transport system and tackling our city’s transport challenges, such as congestion, will require innovation. We believe Open Streets can help us rethink how we move around in Cape Town and how we can change our transport habits,’ said Councillor Herron.
Congested cities around the world are testing car-free days for different reasons. As of May 2016, Paris has banned vehicular traffic along the Champs Elysées and surrounding roads on the first Sunday of each month. In the same month, Detroit closed its eight-lane Michigan in celebration of World Car-Free Day. Car-free days have recently taken place in Madrid, Brussels, and Kigali where the Rwandan capital has introduced monthly car-free days to promote a healthy, active lifestyle.
In Cape Town, Open Streets Day is inspired by Bogotá’s Ciclovía – a recreational programme that creates 120 km of car-free streets in the Colombian capital every Sunday and public holiday.
‘Open Streets Day is an opportunity for all to explore a street as a space that connects people. It suspends reality for a few hours and shows a glimpse of what our future could be. The series has given Capetonians more opportunities to reimagine their city and I want to encourage residents from Mitchells Plain to come and enjoy the car-free day,’ said Councillor Andrews.
The TDA is supporting a long-term Open Streets programme in Cape Town and is working with OSCT to build on the successes achieved thus far.
In August last year the City Council adopted the Organisational Development and Transformational Plan, or ODTP. The ODTP introduces a new regime where the City strives to be more customer-centric by implementing an area-based method of service delivery which will make it easier to monitor our response to local issues and needs. With this new operating model, the City has been divided into four geographical areas for planning, coordination and service delivery purposes – the four Open Streets days are currently celebrated in three of the four areas.
‘We want to take the concept to a scale that can meaningfully connect us and help us change how we move around the city,’ said Guerrero Casas.