Cape Town’s NMT policy and plans

The City of Cape Town has released an official statement about its NMT (non-motorised transport) policy, and the role of the MyCiTi cycle lanes (see below). Many of the projects mentioned below are for pedestrians, not cyclists, so we didn’t include them on the map,  or they are short stretches and not-yet part of a coherent network (but we’re assured it’s its way!) Sad, though, the Kalk Bay main road is still not part of the plan…

During the next few weeks, though, the Cape Town Bicycle Map team will try to visit all the mentioned sites, take pics, and keep you posted. And if you already have pics and info, let us know…

The City of Cape Town’s NMT (non motorized transport) Policy and Strategy recognizes the needs of NMT users in Cape Town with the following vision statement for NMT: “Cape Town will be a city where all people feel safe and secure to walk and cycle, NMT is part of the transport system, public space is shared between all users (NMT, special needs people and motorised users) and everyone has access to urban opportunities and mobility.”

An important goal in realising this vision is to: “increase cycling and encourage walking by creating a safe and pleasant bicycle and pedestrian network of paths to serve all the citizens in the Cape Town Area.” In 2010, the City Transport Department’s Universal Access and NMT Section undertook a city-wide pedestrian and cycle network planning process. Projects throughout the city were identified and will be implemented according to prioritization.

Currently projects in areas such as Mfuleni, Mitchells Plain, Retreat, Guguletu, Blackheath, Dunoon and Atlantis are in detailed design phase and will be implemented as soon as they are finalised. The project implementation will be focussing on improving the accessibility, mobility and safety of pedestrians and cyclists in poorer areas of the city.

The 15km NMT lane along the R27 that was officially launched on Tuesday (Feb 1, 2011) is not the first such lane to be opened in the city. Recently completed NMT infrastructure in the Athlone, Gugulethu, Nyanga and Khayelitsha areas were officially launched during three events in October 2010:

* Wednesday 20 October 2010, Athlone area (Sub-councils 15 and 17). Pedestrian and cycle ways along Hazel and Bosduif Roads and the Bhunga Bridge widening for NMT linkage across the N2 (Athlone-Langa linkage).

* Thursday 21 October 2010, Gugulethu and Nyanga areas (Sub-councils 11 and 14). Pedestrian and cycle ways Emms Drive, Big Lotus River canal and NY1.

* Saturday 23 October 2010, Khayelitsha area (Sub-councils 9 and 10). Pedestrian and cycle ways along Lwandle Road, Spine Road, Pama Road and Walter Sisulu Road. Areas that we have already implemented NMT projects in include: Strand/Nomzamo (PGWC), Khayelitsha, Philippi, Nyanga, Gugulethu, Heideveld, Gatesville/Bridgetown (Athlone), Langa, Mowbray, Rondebosch, West Coast R27, Blaauberg, Kommetjie and others.

NMT lanes are also being built all over the Cape Town CBD, to link up with the West Coast/inner city (phase1) part of the IRT system. The R27 cycle lane that is parallel to the red bus lanes from Bayside Mall into the city centre is part of the IRT system that is aimed at serving residents of Milnerton, Marconi Beam, Jo Slovo Park, Dunoon, Doornbach and eventually Atlantis.

In these areas along the West Coast, unlike on the Cape Flats, there are no trains at all. The City is doing everything it can within its available budgets to improve public transport across the city by implementing BRT lanes in various areas. The West Coast and inner city IRT routes are only part of Phase 1 of a larger project which will be rolled out across the city in the years to come.



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  1. Have you heard anything about implementing a city wide bike rental scheme, a la Paris and London?

    I’m of the firm opinion that the City won’t provide any infrastructure until people use what is already there and demand bicycle parking (non-existent in central Cape Town) and cycle lanes.

    Just wondering.

    • Hi there – yes, I was party to discussion about bike-share for quite some time at the City, and a pilot was mooted during the World Cup, but this didn’t come to pass. The City has received a number of proposals for something similar, but there’re quite a few barriers to implementation (I’ve just written a paper on this for the SA Transport Conference, so send me your email address and I can mail you the draft). It’s unlikely that in a city where so few people ride, that bike-share will take off right now, but you never know… UCT is considering a student scheme, as is Stellenbosch University.
      PS – there are a surprising number of bicycle parking racks in the central city, the location of each is marked on the CT Bicycle Map. While they’re not of the secure, lock-up variety, they are at least not the wheelbender version. But I have never ever seen a bicycle attached to one!

      • Geoff Bickford says:

        Well a bike-share system will be far cheaper to run than a BRT or ‘rapid’ rail system, given that the demand was ‘not existant’ for these either (it has to start somewhere). Plus it would be highly complimentary to public transport systems as well. could you elaborate on the suggested barriers to entry?

      • You’re wanting my input on what to pitch the city for its proposed bike-share 😉 ? That’s a long answer, many barriers and pitfalls, might work, might not, depends on who wins the tender for the feasibility study …

  2. thanks, that would be very interesting.

  3. Hi,

    I’m sure you’ve forgotten, but if possible it would be really good to read your research if you can send it to the email address


  4. Bike share is on the agenda again… I hear that the City of Cape Town is soon to release TOR for a feasibility study for bike-share in Cape Town again. And City of JHB is considering such a system as well.

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