Following on from the successful Open Streets Day in Bree Street in 2016, this year’s event on Sunday 15 January 2017 will also include a section of Longmarket Street which connects with a different part of the Cape Town central business district (CBD).

Open Streets Day will be celebrated on Sunday 15 January 2017, when Bree Street and the section of Longmarket Street between Bree and Adderley Streets will be closed to traffic from 10:00 until 15:00.

‘An estimated 15 000 people from all walks of life celebrated the Open Streets Day in Bree Street in January last year. They participated in a wide range of activities – from cycling, skating, cricket, dancing, singing and performing, to playing Scrabble in the street. What stood out was the large number of people who were eager to connect with each other in this public space that is usually occupied by vehicular traffic. It was a resounding success. We therefore support the extension of the car-free footprint this year to include a section of Longmarket Street as well,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member: Transport for Cape Town, Councillor Brett Herron.

The Open Streets Day in the CBD follows on from the very successful Open Streets days that were hosted in Langa and Bellville in October and November 2016 respectively.

‘The City supports Open Streets as a platform to demonstrate the potential of streets by making some of them temporarily car-free. On 15 January Capetonians will once again have an opportunity to experience streets as safe and welcoming public spaces where we can connect, socialise and participate in activities. 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.

The City encourages everyone to come out on the day and participate in conquering the CBD for a few hours.

‘We are excited about Open Streets' third car-free day in the CBD. Moreover, we welcome the emphasis on streets as pedestrian-friendly spaces. As traffic in and out of the CBD gets worse, it's crucial for citizens to explore alternatives to driving,’ said the CEO of the Cape Town Central City Improvement District, Tasso Evangelinos.

On the day, Open Streets will also host a bicycle hub, courtesy of the Pedal Power Association, the Bicycling Empowerment Network, Velokhaya Life Cycling Academy and Up Cycles. This initiative will include a safe cycling school, free bike rides for children, bicycle parking, bike rentals, and a bike bus to discover the city centre by bicycle.

‘We have committed to growing cycling in Cape Town. Safety is one of the key elements and it starts with us all. Ensuring that a new generation of cyclists is introduced to safe cycling from the outset is crucial to the development of cycling in the city. This year we have an opportunity to showcase and encourage the important principles of sharing the road,’ said the CEO of the Pedal Power Association, Robert Vogel.

To complement the Bike Hub, Bicycle Cape Town will be organising a bike bus from the southern suburbs to the city centre on 15 January 2017. This means people of all ages will be able to start the bicycle experience from the moment they leave their homes on their way to the CBD.

‘Making Bree and Longmarket Streets temporarily car-free will expose residents to a different way of moving on the street and enable us all to engage with healthy fun and physical activity that brings us closer to each other. We want attendees and activity providers to think out the box! Bring a beach ball or a Frisbee. Come in your active wear so that you can take part in a Zumba class. Or start your own game of street football,’ said the Managing Director of Open Streets Cape Town, Marcela Guerrero Casas.

Open Streets Day will also be hosted in Mitchells Plain on 2 April 2017.

‘Cities around the world are rethinking the use of public spaces and streets. The City of Cape Town is no different as we are also working towards creating a more sustainable and liveable city. I want to encourage our residents to reimagine our city as a space that is becoming less car-centred and more orientated towards catering for pedestrians and cyclists,’ said Councillor Herron.