Temporary Woonerf coming to @openstreetsct in OBS tomorrow (25 May 2013)

Woonerf

Instead of remaining an artery for the usual flow of traffic, Lower Main Road in Observatory and Salt River is to be transformed into a car-free meeting place for residents wanting to take part in activities ranging from the arts and giant chess, to skateboarding and cycling this Saturday [25 May 2013].

Open Streets will take place from 13:00 to 17:00 on 25 May 2013.  It  is a partnership between Open Streets Cape Town, the City of Cape Town, the Cape Town Partnership and the Observatory Improvement District.

The objective of Open Streets is to enable citizens to use streets freely and safely. This kind of event was inspired by Bogota’s Ciclovía, which led to similar projects being launched in some 100 major cities across the world, including Jakarta and San Francisco.

ImageAs part of the event, we’ll be erecting temporary Woonerf signage, as a way of highlighting what people-friendly possibilities exist under South African regulations.With a bit of work, this kind of open street could become more permanent. In terms of the Road Traffic Act 93 of 1996, Sign R403 [the Woonerf sign] indicates to the driver of a vehicle that, if he or she proceeds beyond such sign he or she shall – (a) not enter the area driving a vehicle with a gross vehicle mass exceeding 3500kg or a vehicle with more than 10 seats for passengers, except for local access or delivery; (b) yield right-of-way to pedestrians and children who may be in the roadway; (c) observe a maximum speed limit of 30km per hour unless another speed limit is indicated by a road sign; and (d) not enter the area by vehicle and drive through the area to exit at another point or the same point without breaking the journey [ie, no-one may use the area as a thoroughfare]. Of course, for OpenStreets day, no vehicles are permitted at all…

Lower Main Road between Main and Albert Roads is the first leg of an extending network that it is hoped will reach all Cape Town communities, in time to inaugurate the World Design Capital 2014 Programme.

“Removing the cars from Lower Main Road for a few hours will allow people to foster relationships with their neighbours, enhancing the sense of community in the area. Open Streets can also assist in the creation of a more sustainable and low-carbon future for Cape Town, by promoting the idea of using public and non-motorised forms of transport for daily commutes,” said Councillor Brett Herron, Mayoral Committee Member for Transport, Roads and Stormwater.  “I would like to encourage residents not only from Observatory and Salt River, but from all over our city to come and join in.”

The event is free and activities planned for the afternoon include a skateboarding park, bicycle activation points, Zumba and yoga lessons, theatre, music busking and arts installations.

Residents have also organised a family ‘corner’ with a braai and games for kids, street football, giant chess, puppets, chalk-drawing and many more fun family games.

“People want to have a more pedestrian-friendly space on Lower Main Road and Open Streets is an opportunity for all to experience what that would be like. It will also be a good opportunity for local businesses to interact with the residents of Obs and Salt River,” said Justin Ashley, chairman of the Observatory Improvement District.

Open Streets ties in with other events taking place on 25 May, namely:
·         Africa Day
·         Moonlight Mass monthly bicycle ride
·         100 in 1 Day: a global movement to encourage people to utilize public space in creative ways

INFORMATION ON OPEN STREETS CAPE TOWN
– To find out more about Open Streets Cape Town visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=stzcfnosz3k
– To watch a short clip of the original Open Streets visit http://www.streetfilms.org/ciclovia-express-version
– To find out more about Open Streets around the world visit http://openstreetsproject.org
– To arrange to set up an activity on 25 May e-mail info@openstreets.co.za
– For more details visit our website http://www.openstreets.co.za our Facebook page or follow us on twitter @openstreetsCT. 072 214 6736

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