‘We will turn Main Road and parts of Victoria and Sir Lowry Roads on its head on 1 October. With the M4 being one of the main routes between the Cape Town central business district and Woodstock, Salt River, Observatory and beyond, this artery is dominated by vehicular traffic at all hours on weekdays. On Open Streets Day, however, we will reimagine Main Road without motorists by turning it into a playground for pedestrians and all other types of mobility – be it on bicycle, skateboard, rollerblades or whatever else our residents can think of,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Transport and Urban Development, Councillor Brett Herron.
Road closures will take effect along what is generally referred to as Main Road (M4) from 08:00 to 16:00:
- the inbound lane of Main Road (M4) will be closed to vehicular traffic between the intersections with Groote Schuur Drive and Salt River Road in Observatory
- the inbound and outbound lanes of Victoria Road (M4) will be closed to vehicular traffic between the intersections with Salt River Road and Russell Street in Salt River and Woodstock
- the outbound lane of Darling Street and Sir Lowry Road (M4) will be closed between the intersections with Russell Street and Buitenkant Street in the CBD
‘Part of what we want to achieve on this day is to demonstrate to residents that there are many ways of getting from A to B which can contribute to a greener Cape Town and a healthier lifestyle. More of us should walk and cycle to work, or make use of public transport, as this will help to reduce congestion and make it easier to live and work in Cape Town. 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 Councillor Herron.
Open Streets Day is a collaborative effort between the City’s Transport and Urban Development Authority (TDA) and Open Streets Cape Town (OSCT).
‘Open Streets is a platform to demonstrate the potential of streets where Capetonians also have the opportunity to experience roads as public spaces where we can meet, socialise and participate in activities. I invite the people from Observatory, Woodstock and Salt River to come and enjoy the day in the street and to connect with their neighbours and other visitors,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Area Central, Councillor Suzette Little.
‘This is also the ideal opportunity for residents and interested parties to walk over to the Cape Town Science Centre where the TDA will host the third and final day of an exhibit on the 11 City-owned sites to be developed for affordable and inclusionary housing,’ said Councillor Herron.
The Science Centre is based at 370 Main Road in Observatory and the exhibition will be open from 10:00 to 15:00.
‘At previous Open Streets days we focused on activities on the route. And, while there will be activities at Open Streets Main Road, this time we’re making almost all of the road space available for mobility. It is a good reminder that streets can become more people-friendly spaces,’ said OSCT Managing Director, Marcela Guerrero Casas.
‘Creating the space for people to cycle safely and freely can be a transformative opportunity for those who do not feel comfortable getting on a bicycle on the streets of our city,’ said the Chief Executive Officer of the Pedal Power Association, Robert Vogel.
At Open Streets Main Road, there will be many short journeys people can embark on. Whether on a bicycle, a skateboard or by foot, the opportunity to discover this historic stretch of Cape Town is limitless. For example, you could cycle the less than 3 km distance from Trafalgar Park in Woodstock to the Cape Town Science Centre in Observatory, or walk from Cape Town City Hall to Woodstock Town Hall.
Residents and visitors are also encouraged to join Councillor Herron on the day as he takes the lead on his bicycle to formally open Main Road to two-wheelers. The ride will depart from the Cape Town Science Centre at 11:00 and will end in the CBD.
‘By showing that walking and cycling short distances is possible, these journeys could inspire more day-to-day shifts in our transport behaviour. We invite everyone to come out and help make the street come alive on the day!’ said Guerrero Casas.
Photo by Peter Greenwall