Open Streets creates space to reimagine Cape Town CBD

Open Streets creates space to reimagine Cape Town CBD

On Sunday, January 15, during ‘Open Streets City Centre’, Bree Street will be car-free between 10am and 3pm. Open Streets Cape Town (OSCT) invites everyone to attend this free, citizen-driven exploration of streets as public space.

Building on the series of Open Streets Days that has taken place across the metropole (in Langa, Bellville, Observatory and Mitchells Plain), OSCT and Transport for Cape Town (TCT) join forces once again. This time, the aim will be to test new pedestrian-prioritisation ideas for the CBD, while continuing to lay a foundation for a long-term Open Streets programme for Cape Town.

“The City supports Open Streets as a platform to demonstrate the potential of streets by making some of them temporarily car free. On 15 January 2017 Capetonians will once again have an 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. I want to encourage everyone to come out on the day and participate in reinventing the CBD for a few hours,” announced the City’s Mayoral Committee Member: Transport for Cape Town, Councillor Brett Herron.

During ‘Open Streets City Centre’, the aim will be to explore how streets can be improved for the benefit of all their users, not just motorists. OSCT and TCT are working to develop a conversation about long-term change on our streets, and the invitation is open for everyone who would like to be part of this transformation; to join in and see what the CBD has to offer from a different perspective, whether it’s on foot, bicycle, skateboard or any other non-motorised form of mobility.

Says Tasso Evangelinos, CEO of the Cape Town Central City Improvement District (CCID): “We are excited about Open Streets’ third car-free day in the CBD. Moreover, we welcome the emphasis on reimagining our area as a pedestrian-friendly space. As traffic in and out of the CBD gets worse and worse, it’s crucial for citizens to explore alternatives to driving. This dovetails with our own efforts to find solutions to traffic congestion.”

As usual, the recipe is simple: take cars out of the space and invite people to use it differently. The journey, of course, starts from the moment everyone leaves their home and the invitation is to take public or non-motorised transport to travel to Open Streets and thus take active part in this urban experiment.

Says OSCT Co-Founder and Managing Director Marcela Guerrero Casas: “We believe Open Streets can bring our neighbourhoods a little closer together and connect us all in an inclusive and playful environment. It is a simple but powerful way to establish common ground and an opportunity to explore a space that belongs to all.”

Open Streets is possible because of the City of Cape Town and additional key partners which include the Millennium Trust, the Nedbank WWF Green Trust, KFM and Woolworths. Most importanly, Open Streets Days rely on volunteers and contributions by residents and businesses of the area.