Take the bus to win at Open Streets

2018-02-20 15:23

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With the next Open Streets event taking place on Sunday 25 February, it’s time to start planning how you’re going to get there. And depending on your mode of transport, you could be in line to win.

Between 09:00 and 14:00, 3km of the M4 (Main Road, Victoria Road and Sir Lowry Road) through Observatory, Salt River, Woodstock and District Six will become a car-free corridor for residents and visitors to enjoy as a shared public space. 

This month’s event will focus on Open Streets Cape Town’s #AtoBChallenge, which encourages anyone travelling to Open Streets to make use of public or non-motorised  transport.

Carbon dioxide emissions from burning fuels in private cars make a major contribution to the climate change problem, explains Open Streets Cape Town managing director, Marcela Guerrero Casas.

“We can tackle this problem in Cape Town by shifting our transport choices, improving vehicle and fuel technologies and reducing the need for transport through spatial planning and the location of facilities.”

The #AtoBChallenge builds on the idea of the World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) concept of a low-carbon challenge previously run in Pretoria and Johannesburg. Run for the first time in Cape Town last year, the #AtoBChallenge saw teams competing to travel from the Central City to the Langa Open Streets event using any form of low-carbon transport. 

The winning team was the one that completed the journey with the smallest carbon footprint. The #AtoBChallenge gives Capetonians an opportunity to explore transport options, and to interrogate the link between transport behaviour and climate change through experiential learning. It will enable those who normally don’t use public transport to experience it, and those who do, an opportunity to share their experiences. 

Those who take up the #AtoBChallenge stand a chance to win. Those coming by bus, minibus taxi, train, bicycle, skates or foot will stand a chance to win a bicycle. All you need to do is take a picture or video of yourself commuting to Open Streets Main Road on your chosen mode of transport, post your picture on social media with the hashtag #AtoBChallenge and tag @OpenStreetsCT on Twitter or @OpenStreetsCapeTown on Facebook or Instagram. Then, share your feedback when you get to Open Streets Main Road. The team will be waiting for you with a small gift at the Open Streets info booth opposite Aberdeen Park.

“As usual, the invitation is to move around the City differently by experiencing non-motorised and public transport by taking up the #AtoBChallenge,” says Guerrero Casas.

Some restrictions will be in place for motorised vehicles, including public transport. Between Russell Street and Salt River Road there will be no vehicular access, and between Salt River Road and Groote Schuur Drive the outgoing lanes will accommodate contraflow motorised traffic in both directions. There will be full access to Groote Schuur Hospital. 

Public transport operators have been consulted and routes have been amended accordingly. Users are encouraged to take note of the diversions so they can plan accordingly and for those who have time, the invitation is to take part in Open Streets. It is free and everyone is welcome.

Anwar Ally, operations manager for Golden Arrow Bus Services, says: “We will endeavour to communicate with our passengers before Open Streets to minimise any inconvenience, and will continue to engage with the organisers to amplify the message. We support the concept and believe it is a positive contribution to our communities. If we can shift people from private vehicles to public and non-motorised transport modes, Cape Town will have a much better transport system”

Minibus taxis will make use of alternative routes for the duration of Open Streets. MyCiTi route 102 will run as normal, with marshals at the intersection of Roodebloem Street and Victoria Road giving special access to buses.

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