Thanks to Warda Rahim, I had a chance to show the streetfilms short clip on Bogota's ciclovia at today's Salt River Community Forum. The response was, as predicted, very positive and highly enthusiastic! As someone in the room said, perhaps, this will be our chance to meet fellow neighbors from obs and from Woodstock, "so we can stop being these three separated neighborhoods". Powerful stuff!! It is now up to the city to confirm a date and an exact stretch. As soon as those details are finalized, we'll come to fill in the streets.
If all goes according to plan and the first Open Streets Cape Town takes place along Albert Road, the site will be a really interesting testing ground. The city is currently rolling out a Non Motorised Transport plan that includes bicycle lanes and more pedestrian-friendly spaces. Though the ultimate goal is to improve the area so it attracts more residents, business owners, etc., plans have not been smooth and citizens of the communities that Albert road cuts across have expressed strong feelings against the construction of bicycle lanes. The perception, not unlike other places is that taking parking space away will negatively affect their businesses.
Will Open Streets enable residents to experience the benefits of more pedestrianisation and less cars on the streets. One Sunday might not be enough to show all that's in store for the areas affected, but it will certainly open people?s minds to the potential of a less car-dominated neighborhood. Perhaps, Andre Potgieter's idea of a car-free Albert Road will become a reality sooner than we all think!