This Saturday, we’re hosting a Street Minds talk at 6 Spin Street about what is necessary to make cycling an everyday thing in Cape Town.
Among the speakers will be Lebogang Mokwena, Cape Town’s first-ever bicycle mayor, and Dr Njogu Morgan, a postdoctoral researcher at the South African Research Chair in Spatial Analysis and City Planning at Wits.
We are very excited about this event, and so cycling is at the top of our minds this week!
With that said, we’ve been thinking about the notion of “transport justice”. This partly as a result of a fascinating workshop UCT hosted last week looking at the intersection of transport and social sciences (if you are curious check out INTALInC for more information). It comes as no surprise that Cape Town, not unlike other cities in South Africa exemplifies transport injustice at its best given the history of exclusive policies and of grave social and economic inequalities.
Professor Mark Zuidgeest, from the UCT’s Centre for Transport Studies, says: “We have a system in which it is often the people who are least able to afford it who spend the longest amount of time and, relatively speaking, the most amount of money in using the transport system to gain access to economic opportunities, if at all it is possible to reach these economic opportunities on time.”
Our co-founder and Board member Dr Lisa Kane also highlights, the greatest inequities in this regard in SA are between those with cars and those without. The general consensus among those in Cape Town transport planning circles is that an integrated system of public and non-motorised transport – including cycling – will address this inequity.
Furthermore, SA travel surveys show that poorer households are dependent on walking for accessing economic opportunities. Road safety and security is, therefore, something that hampers them further. Thus, understanding how planning and design practices can address safety and security is important for transport justice.
Marianne Vanderschuren also from UCT and one of the speakers at the workshop, noted that arterial roads tend to be where most serious pedestrian injuries occur. She cited Voortrekker Road, where the street design doesn’t support safe pedestrian movement, as an example. She noted, however, that the Department of Transport has recently revised its non-motorised transport guidelines.
In addition, last year, the City of Cape Town unveiled a draft cycling strategy, a component of its broader non-motorised transport strategy. According to the City: “Recognising that cycling is an increasingly important and growing part of the City’s transport solution, the bicycle is rapidly becoming a favoured mode of transport in liveable cities.”
But how do we make this a reality on the ground? Have any ideas? We invite you to join the discussion this Saturday, 21 April, at 6 Spin Street. Find out more here.