On 25 March, a portion of Eisleben Road will become a space for people to walk, cycle, skate, explore, play and connect. This follows the recent Open Streets Main Road on 25 February, where we saw young and old, locals and visitors, come out to share the car-free space together. We are seeing that there is clearly an appetite for a regular programme of Open Streets Days in Cape Town.
Our intention was never for Open Streets to be an event, but rather a movement of citizens reimagining their streets together. And that’s why we never refer to it as an event, or even a festival! We took inspiration from Ciclovía, a Colombian programme of weekly car-free days that makes the streets of major cities accessible to pedestrians and non-motorised transport users every Sunday and public holiday. It's exciting to see that the concept is catching on in Cape Town.
Thousands of people come to each Open Streets Day, many of them return participants. We believe there is significant public interest in growing the programme in different parts of the city. Soon we hope Open Streets will become a way of life like it is in Latin America.
Open Streets Main Road on 25 February was the clearest indication of this so far. As thousands of pedestrians and non-motorised transport users descended on the space, it began to resemble Ciclovía.
Mitchells Plain has hosted two Open Streets Days, on Merrydale Avenue in April 2016 and on Eisleben Road almost exactly a year later. For the third instalment, after consultation with various local stakeholders, we return to Eisleben Road with a longer 3km route.
Ricky Mabee, founder of Mitchells Plain Alive, an online business forum, says: “Open Streets is a unique opportunity for our community to come together and realise its potential. From getting to know each other in a safe and welcoming space to having the platform to showcase our different talents, 25 March will be an opportunity to build our networks in Mitchells Plain and beyond. Join us!”
Bring your friends, family, neighbours, and an activity or game to share with others. There is no cost involved. Your street for a day – what will you do?
#ItsYourSpace #CarFree #OpenStreets
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Photo by Bruce Sutherland