The City of Johannesburg is investing more than R150-million to widen sidewalks, add cycle lanes and introduce dedicated public transport lanes for all forms of transport in Sandton, which is set to host the EcoMobility World Festival in October.
This was announced by Johannesburg Finance MMC, Councillor Geoffrey Makhubo during his 2015-2016 Budget Speech at the Sandton Convention Centre yesterday.
For the entire month of October, certain streets of Sandton – Johannesburg’s second-largest central business district – will be closed to make way for “greener ways of travelling”, including walking, cycling and public transport, as part of this year’s Transport Month celebrations.
Johannesburg is the second city to host the festival in partnership with the International Council of Local Environment Initiatives (ICLEI). The first was Haenggung-dong in Suwon, South Korea, in September 2013.
More than 1 500 cars were removed from Haenggung-dong’s streets during the festival and more than 4 340 residents took part in the month-long activities.
The event, described as “hugely successful”, attracted more than 1-million local and international participants, 40 international businesses and an equivalent of R130-million in investment.
Makhubo believes the EcoMobility World Festival in Sandton will showcase the city’s efforts to promote public transport, walking and cycling and demonstrate that “it is possible to commute using these modes”.
“The pain you are enduring on Katherine Drive today as we construct the dedicated lanes for Rea Vaya will be worth it in addressing congestion in Sandton. In future, more people will opt for Rea Vaya as a reliable public transport option,” the MMC says.
“We are doing this because if we want Sandton to continue to grow as a business, financial and retail hub it needs to be easily accessible and the streets need to be attractive and safe for all road users.”
More than 85 000 vehicles move in and out of the Sandton precinct during peak traffic each day, with about 70% of these trips undertaken by privately-owned cars.