Open Streets Cape Town kicked off its Walk & Talk series on Wednesday 23 January on Bree Street with a walk from Prestwich Memorial along the Fan Walk and along Bree Street. Many issues were raised and we would like to continue the discussion!
Below a summary of some of the main points raised:
- The bridge can be a destination in itself - it is already part of the experience of an event.
- The bridge might reinforce our car-centric culture by inconveniencing pedestrians under the guise of protecting them - it is not accessible to all, or more convenient than walking across the street.
- Bicycle lock-up facilities under the bridge are not very practical low visibility and very limited use.
Continuing the Conversation...
* How can the city communicate availability and use of existing infrastructure better?
*What would make the bridge more appealing to users?
- Space encourages people to walk, cycle & skateboard but becomes uninhabited after 5pm.
- Street furniture can be seen either as visual clutter or tools to invite public participation.
- Too many bollards defeat the purpose of creating a safe space for pedestrians.
- Colouring of lanes follows international practice and similar models in Copenhagen use parking bays as buffer between cycling lane and traffic lanes.
- Lanes need to have bicycles (and skateboards!) painted in order to communicate their use to drivers. Enforcement of law will also be essential to maximise their use
- Beyond design, the city should embark on a behaviour change campaign to improve awareness and road sharing by drivers.
- Traffic signals allow very short time for people to walk -especially for the elderly, less able and those with young children.
- Street design can help create space for negotiation between pedestrians and drivers.Designing minimally encourages people to take responsibility for their actions.
- Construction happens all the time; it is not a temporary phenomenon and signage for pedestrians should be regulated the way it is done for traffic.
- Engineering principle says you don't need a lot of fast moving cars to have a lot of cars moving through the city.
- Bree Street is changing thanks to new residential developments, help by the Cape Town Partnership to create safety and cleanliness. Bree Street is Long Street for grown ups.
- Informal trading can be obstructive to pedestrians; however there is no consistency on implementation. i.e. There are complaints about Adderley Street due to informal traders yet no complaints about cars being parked on the sidewalks on Bree Street.
- Skateboarding is no longer a sub culture defined by a specific type of clothes inhabiting a certain number of establishments.
- Cape Town needs to amend legislation on non-motorised transport to include skateboarding and thus be able to regulate behaviour.
- Private establishments like Clark's have taken the initiative to offer free and safe spaces for skateboarders. As a result a diverse group of people congregate on this corner.
- Activity in the centre of town can be multiplied but only possible if the focus shifts away from private cars.
- Economic and social activity can be activated through events on public space and easier official procedures.
- Public transport must be given priority to maximize economic opportunity and to change behaviour.
- Streets are contested spaces between different groups, types of mobility, etc.
- City officials are eager to take feedback and engage with public
- Some solutions are about infrastructure but others are about perception and culture, and behavioural choices.
- All citizens contribute to the design of streets by utilising them