A section of Voortrekker Road in Bellville will be transformed once again, on Sunday 20 November 2016, with the celebration of Open Streets Day. The section of Voortrekker Road between the intersections with Durban Road and Oos Street will be car-free for the day, meaning residents and visitors can turn the street into their playground.
This section of Voortrekker Road will be closed to vehicular traffic on Sunday 20 November 2016, from 10:00 until 15:00, meaning the main street in Bellville will be a pedestrian paradise for at least five hours.
‘The City of Cape Town supports Open Streets as a platform to demonstrate the potential of streets by making some of them temporarily car-free. In so doing, pedestrians can enjoy the space without needing to be concerned about their safety. On this day residents and visitors can use the car-free platform for expression – be it to walk, cycle, skate, play or perform. Car-free Sunday has received exceptional support from the local community and visitors in the past and I want to encourage them to come out in their numbers again,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member: Transport for Cape Town, Councillor Brett Herron.
The car-free day in Bellville, made possible by the commitment from the Greater Tygerberg Partnership (GTP), is the second in a new six-month long series of Open Streets days. Last month the city celebrated Open Streets Day in Langa. The Cape Town central business district will host an Open Streets Day on 15 January 2017, followed by the fourth and last in Mitchells Plain on 2 April 2017.
‘Voortrekker Road is one of Cape Town’s busiest streets. Last year when we made a section of this busy corridor car-free for the day, people from all over Cape Town showed up, meeting each other in the street. They discovered in Bellville a vibrant suburb, and we are looking forward to hosting them again this year,’ said the Chief Executive Officer of the GTP, Chris O’Connor.
Open Streets provides a free community platform for games, performances, showcasing projects, participating in sports and other activities. On the agenda for Bellville this year is the Book Station reading corner, elastic drawing and chalk mandalas, performances by Mapiko African Masquerade, Terreiro Capoeira (a form of Brazilian martial art), and the Ultimate Frisbee game.
‘Open Streets draws inspiration from Bogotá’s Ciclovía, which transforms 120 km of streets across the Colombian capital every Sunday and public holiday. The intention of Open Streets in Cape Town is to demonstrate that streets can connect people across social and spatial divides,’ said the Managing Director: Open Streets Cape Town, Marcela Guerrero Casas.
The car-free day demonstrates how one of the city’s main transport corridors can be turned into a public urban space for pedestrians.
‘Open Streets also focuses our attention on transport possibilities beyond those offered by the private car. I want to encourage Capetonians to opt for walking and cycling for shorter trips. It is a healthy way of getting around – for our bodies and the environment. We are experiencing the demoralising consequences of growing private vehicle use in Cape Town on a daily basis. Congestion is a familiar sight on our major arterial routes during peak-hour traffic and it is getting worse every year. As such, it is high time we rethink how we move around in the city and what we can do to make our city function better,’ said Councillor Herron.
An Open Streets Day is an opportunity for all to explore a street as a space that connects people. It suspends reality for a few hours and shows a glimpse of what our future could be. The purpose of the series of Open Streets days is to open our eyes to the variety of mobility choices on offer.