- DATE October 15
- HOSTED BY City of Tshwane C40 Cities Finance Facility
Tshwane is aiming to increase the proportion of its residents who choose to walk and cycle to their destinations. A significant number of them, especially from low- and middle-income groups, already do, despite the lack of infrastructure. Certain routes, such as the Solomon Mahlangu Drive corridor and the R55 around Olivenhoutbosch, see high numbers of cyclists every day. The city has created a host of political and policy documents to address this demand, such as the NMT Facility Guidelines and the NMT Priority Network.
To raise awareness and kick-start a dialogue with the wider community, the City of Tshwane organised a Virtual Indaba entitled 'Growing the walking and cycling footprint in the City of Tshwane: It needs all of us', together with the C40 Cities Finance Facility (CFF). After an eventful first day, the Indaba continued on Thursday 15 October with renewed energy from the participants. Participants included City of Tshwane officials, officials from other spheres of government, thought leaders with many years of experience in the transport sector in South Africa, implementing agencies, activists who are working tirelessly to make walking and cycling more accessible to millions of South Africans, and members of the public at large.
When we gather again in 2021, we hope to have fulfilled our promise to build a community of activists working with the City of Tshwane to deliver on walking and cycling, establishing partnerships and maximising the positive environmental, economic and social impacts.
Day 2, facilitated again by the team at The Barefoot Facilitator, was largely focused on a call to action to everyone in the room to spread the message about walking and cycling and more importantly to act on it. A plethora of actions are needed to improve walking and cycling in South African cities, including:
- Changing the perception of these particular modes of transport; they too can become aspirational. This can be done through awareness campaigns. As more people walk and cycle, it can become the norm.
- Raising awareness about the transport decisions that we make everyday to go to work, the shops, etc and the link to safeguarding our own future.
- Smart and future-proof infrastructure that enables walking and cycling throughout the year.
- Significant investments in walking and cycling infrastructure coupled with ongoing maintenance to support those who choose to walk and cycle.
- Improved design of our cities that support functional public spaces that in turn stimulate greater walking and cycling.
- Improved safety and security on the roads to allow for greater walking and cycling.
- An incentive mechanism that rewards those who choose a low-carbon mode to accelerate the move from a car-centric city.
- The same level of effort from the municipality is needed for walking and cycling as what is dedicated to motorised transportation.
Walking and cycling is a complex and multi-dimensional issue and the responsibility for their success does not lie with only one institution. As the session progressed, it became clear that to move the needle on walking and cycling will take all of us, tackling the issue from multiple angles.
(Picture below title is credited to the University of Pretoria).