Open Streets Cape Town: Open Streets celebrates people power

Open Streets Cape Town: Open Streets celebrates people power

Residents of Cape Town, South Africa, step out in support of the “movement for better movement”, reclaiming a central city street for half a day.

This past Sunday, 27 January, a major thoroughfare in Cape Town’s CBD closed to cars, creating a platform for “better movement” for people. Staged in Bree Street, it was the third Open Streets Day in a monthly series that kicked off in the inner-city suburb of Woodstock on 28 October 2018.

The next one takes place in Langa on Sunday 24 February, followed by Mitchells Plain on Sunday 31 March. Both are suburbs in the Cape Flats region of Cape Town.

Organised by the NPO Open Streets Cape Town (OSCT), Open Streets Days are an invitation to experience mobility in a car-free environment. The idea is to challenge the notion that the motor vehicle must be the centrepiece of our urban existence. OSCT is running the current series of Open Streets Days with the support of the Transformative Urban Mobility Initiative.

OSCT programmes director and acting MD Rebecca Campbell says: “As our cities adapt to deal with climate change and accommodate increasing populations in an inclusive and sustainable way, we need to transform our mobility systems.”

However, Capetonians love their cars, evidenced by the frequent congestion throughout the city and its CBD. An Open Streets Day is, therefore, a major disruption in which people can use a street as shared public space for walking, skating, cycling and more.

Rebecca continues: “These modes have the benefits of improved health, economic savings, reduced carbon emissions and strengthening of social fabric.”

In line with the invitation to foster better movement, OSCT and its partners ran bike buses for those who wanted to cycle to Bree Street. These departed from various parts of the city, showing that the movement for better movement starts at everyone’s door.

“Making small changes to our commuting habits and joining the global movement of citizens embracing non-motorised transport is slowly but surely putting Cape Town on the road to becoming a more equitable and sustainable city,” says Rebecca.

Article by Rebecca Campbell

Photo Credits: Lisa Burnell (CC), Rory Williams (CC), Richard Conyngham (CC), Marcela Guerrero Casas (CC)