The Sandton CBD will be the site of the second ‘EcoMobility World Festival 2015’ – a month-long, car-free city district event, conceived by ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, an international network of over 1000 cities, towns and metropolises committed to building a sustainable future.
The festival, backed by the City of Johannesburg and the Sandton Central Management District, will take place for the duration of the month of October, which is also Transport Month.
The project will involve the temporary closing of roads in the heart of Sandton to private traffic, thereby encouraging commuters to use public transport and support a network of dedicated cycle and pedestrian routes planned to make the city’s environment a healthier one in which to live and work. The locations affected are parts of Rivonia Road, Fifth Street, West Street, Fredman Drive, Alice Lane and Gwen Lane. It is hoped the experiment will change commuter behaviour on a more permanent scale, benefitting Sandton’s increasing traffic flow.
At a media and stakeholder briefing at the Sandton Convention Centre on March 10, Johannesburg’s Executive Mayor, Parks Tau, indicated that all businesses affected by the road closures, which have multiple implications for the many hotels and tourism businesses in Sandton, were invited to discuss their concerns with the city.[custom_blockquote style=”green”] We want to start a process of talking,” he stated. “We are open to consultation about how the festival will affect businesses in the closure area.. [/custom_blockquote]
He said the festival aimed to attract not only Sandton residents, but also other South Africans to come into Sandton. It will include fun runs, cycle rides, an exhibition and other programmes to draw people in to experience a car-free Sandton CBD. The city will ensure sufficient public transport in and out of Sandton over the period.
Sandton is currently a frustrating mass of street works and traffic delays as the city strives to ease its growing traffic congestion. According to Tau, the 100 000 commuter trips recorded into the area on a daily basis will increase by a third in 10 years and by 50% in 20 years.[custom_blockquote style=”green”] Without intervention, Sandton will be a parking lot in four years. [/custom_blockquote]
Remedial measures now being undertaken are Rea Vaya routes, a public transport loop along Rivonia Road, Fredman Drive and Fifth Street, walking and cycling lanes, the construction of pedestrian bridges and the extension of the Gautrain Station to facilitate a mini-bus taxi terminal.
For the latest info, please visit http://www.ecomobilityfestival.org/