News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Thursday June 20th 2019

Grassy Park community enjoys Cape Town’s Open Streets

Despite Sunday's gloomy weather, residents of Grassy Park came out on a variety of wheels to enjoy the first Open Streets event on Victoria Road. Photo: WCN

Despite Sunday's gloomy weather, residents of Grassy Park came out on a variety of wheels to enjoy the first Open Streets event on Victoria Road. Photo: Alistair Barnes/WCN

21.10.12

Warnings of heavy rain and strong winds didn’t deter residents from Grassy Park from coming out to enjoy the first of Cape Town’s “Open Streets” events.

Victoria Road in Grassy Park became a car free zone on Sunday to allow pedestrians, cyclists, rollerbladers and skaters to use their wheels while free Zumba and yoga classes, as well as games of street soccer were also enjoyed by the community without the danger of being run over.

3000 fluorescent drawstring bags marked “Respect Pedestrians and Cyclist” were handed out and the Bicycle Empowerment Network (BEN) offered free bicycle tuning.

“There were a few punctures, or people who needed help with their basic bike set up – saddle heights etc,” said Andrew Wheeldon of BEN.

“People have old bikes sitting in their garages and they need to be shown how to do some simple things and now they can use their bikes.”

Open Streets is based on an initiative called Ciclovía that started in Bogota, Columbia, in 1976 and now occurs every second Sunday in that City.

It has since been picked up by almost a hundred cities worldwide.

Esther Moag, who works for the City of Cape Town and was the events manager on Sunday, said: “The community has been very happy about the Open Streets event, it’s been awesome. The weather wasn’t great but people have come out in a major way and everyone has enjoyed themselves. The community already want to plan the next one.”

She said a group from the Premier’s office, who are going to Robertson next weekend for a big bicycle tour, took the opportunity to get in some training on Victoria Road.

Following June’s ‘Better Together’ ride from Plettenberg Bay to Khayelitsha, next weekend the Western Cape Premier Helen Zille, accompanied by a few of her ministers, will be cycling through the Worcester, Rawsonville and Robertson area as part of the 110% Green campaign and promoting more sustainable forms of transport. Alan Winde was one of the ministers who attended Sunday’s Open Streets event in Grassy Park to train for next weekend’s event.

“The community needs to take ownership of the space and enjoy it. It’s been extremely popular,” said Moag.

The event was been part of the City’s October Transport Month and was organised by the City of Cape Town in collaboration with the Bicycle Empowerment Network, Pedal Power Association and Bicycle Cape Town. – Katie de Klee

Tags: Andrew Wheeldon, BEN, Better Together, Bicycle Cape Town, Bicycle Empowerment Network, Ciclovía, Esther Moag, Grassy Park, Open Streets, Pedal Power Association

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