News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Monday August 19th 2019

Cyclists urge City to Open Streets


A loose collective of bicycle enthusiasts are pushing the City of Cape Town to become part of a global network of cities hosting Open Streets events in which cars are banned from particular transport routes on certain days.

The cycling and alternative transport activists numbering in their hundreds who have initiated events such as an annual naked bike ride and full moon cycles –which have become so popular that the City is now considering making them an official event – through Cape Town Streets, have this year established the Bicycle Cape Town (BCT) organisation.

Although it has no formal structure and is run on a purely voluntary basis, the membership is lobbying, and guiding the City in policy making that focuses less on private vehicles and more on public and alternative private transport.

At a BCT meeting on Tuesday evening – the second since their inaugural get-together on May 28 – organisor Marcela Guerrero Cassas announced that the City of Cape Town was on board for an Open Streets event during October, which is earmarked as transport month.

Guerrero Cassas explained that the concept of Open Streets, where particular roads are opened for all matter of self-propelled vehicles such as bicycles, skateboards and rollerblades, originated in Bogota, Colombia, in the ‘70s. The event now occurs every second Sunday in Bogota where over 70km of streets are open to the public.

Close to 100 cities around the world now also host their own Open Streets events.

However, the City representative in attendance, head of marketing and passenger services in the Department of Transport, Ester Moag, was more cautious.

Moag said the City supported the initiative and was “sure we will be able to pull it off”, but stopped short of making a full commitment.

She said the city was currently working on a five year integrated transport plan and was inviting proposals from organisations and individuals.

“Talk to us so that we know what your needs are,” she said.

Guerroro Cassas said the reason for pushing for the City to host regular Open Streets days was because it got people outside and meeting each other. Aiming to open up transport corridors such as Klipfontein Road that linked communities across colour and class barriers, the initiative would contribute to social integration and cohesion and promote a healthier lifestyle.

BCT is also pushing for more dedicated cycle lanes to be established in the City in a bid to encourage people to commute via bicycle.  – Steve Kretzmann

Tags: Bicycle Cape Town (BCT), City of Cape Town, Department of Transport, Ester Moag, Klipfontein Road, Marcela Guerrero Cassas, Open Streets

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One Response to “Cyclists urge City to Open Streets”

  1. […] media attention (articles on the Cape Times, New Age, West Cape News, as well as interviews on SAFM and Cape Talk Radio) has confirmed Open Streets is a concept with a […]

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