It’s time to come out and play

KAYLYNN PALM

Be part of the crowd, playing in the street by joining the official bike bus from Palmyra Junction shopping centre in Claremont to Merrydale Avenue in Mitchell’s Plain for the next Open Streets event.

The bike bus will leave Palmyra Junction shopping centre at 10am.

The event will take over Merrydale Avenue in Mitchell’s Plain from noon to 5pm on Sunday April 3, with the area between Westpoort Drive and Oxford Street closed to traffic.

Residents are invited to take their rollerskates, skateboards, bicycles and tricycles along, to the free Open Streets event which will also have live music, street cricket and many more games.

The planning process began last year with a series of presentations to local sub-councils and has ramped up in the past two months with door-to-door campaigning and well-attended public meetings with members of the community.

The City’s mayoral committee member for transport, Brett Herron said the event was a chance to look at our streets in a different way.

“The experience starts from the moment people leave their homes and travel to Mitchell’s Plain – ideally using public transport or joining the official bike bus from Claremont to Merrydale Avenue – and it continues when they arrive at a car-free street that allows for genuine interaction and connection,” he said.

Mr Herron said the event was also an opportunity for the community to showcase local talent and entrepreneurship.

“From South Africa’s first chess grandmaster to a long list of innovators in media, the arts, music and business, Mitchell’s Plain is home to many South African celebrities like one-time member of the legendary hip-hop outfit Prophets of Da City, DJ Ready D, who was born in the area,” he said.

Previous events include Open Streets Bree on January 17 this year, Open Streets in Langa and Bellville last year.

This weekend’s event will be the first held in Mitchell’s Plain.

Open Streets Mitchell’s Plain is receiving financial and strategic support from Transport for Cape Town, the City’s transport authority.

“Cape Town is geographically spread out, and unfortunately those of us who live more centrally seldom have a reason to travel to the city outskirts – to areas that were created to entrench the apartheid plan.

“This is the legacy we need to address urgently and Open Streets presents a unique opportunity for all of us to understand the spatial challenge and at the same time experience what a shift in transport mode – from motorised to non-motorised – can do to create a liveable and sustainable city.”

Mr Herron encouraged people to travel to Mitchell’s Plain with public transport on Sunday, pointing out that Metrorail and the MyCiTi service would have direct routes from the various parts of Cape Town.

“Open Streets can help connect our communities and its success will depend solely on public support and participation. Be part of the city you want to see,” said the managing director of Open Streets Cape Town, Marcela Guerrero Casas.

Road closures will impact those travelling from Kimberley Way, Montagu Way, Durban Way, Tulbach Road and Merrydale Avenue. The Hazeldene Shuttle Services Taxi Association will be using alternative routes.

* For more information about the event, you can visit www.openstreets.org.za or email info@openstreets.co.za