Thousands of kilometers away and yet I was on ciclovia this morning! The feeling of "déjà vu" was incredible, especially when the first salsa song started blaring from the mini boom box our Zumba instructor brought along.
The City of Cape Town decided to test the concept in Grassy Park as part of their Transport Month activities and it now seems clear there's no turning around! Councillor Brett Herron stated during the opening speech Open Streets is to become a way of living in Cape Town.
Despite the cold and rainy weather, there was activity for all; ranging from cyclists who came from different parts of the city to yogis and zumba dancers, Victoria Road in Grassy Park was quite a different place this morning.
The movement is on and Open Streets is starting to take shape and to acquire its own identify in Cape Town. It is commendable to see the city putting resources to testing this small pilot. Councillor Herron and his staff, particularly Ester Moag, worked to make this a reality and we appreciate their commitment. Now it is a matter of taking things one step further: seeing how this event can build on the broader agenda of enabling citizen ownership of public space, particularly streets. Open Streets can become a sustainable initiative that's driven by citizens from the grassroots and the city of Cape Town is in the right position after today's event to make that possible!
As activists continue to demand open spaces and open streets, we need to document, analyse and disseminate street wisdom. Part of the process will include collecting images and ideas of what it means to have open streets which will include events such as today's Open Streets day but it also includes discussions about how we use our sidewalks, our parks and what the impact of this interaction is in the safety, design and power of our streets.
Post your open photos on FB: https://www.facebook.com/OpenStreetsCapeTown; use the tag #openstreetsct on Twitter and help me define what open streets mean to Cape Town.
The movement is on! Residents of grassy park got a small dose of what is possible. One city official mentioned, they were already asking when the next one is happening. Which can only mean one thing - it is time to open streets all over Cape Town!