Open streets planned for October

Exciting new plans to make city more pedestrian friendly

11 September 2019 | Infrastructure

Yolanda Nel With the average vehicle growth rate in the capital at 3% per annum, the City of Windhoek (CoW) plans to launch an open street concept by the end of October.
According to council documents, the open streets concept is an initiative where streets or a portion thereof are closed to cars and opened for pedestrians.
“The idea is to, for example, close Independence Avenue to motorised vehicles from Frans Indongo Street to Sam Nujoma Avenue from 09:00 to 12:00,” the document read. However, this will only take place every last Saturday of the month and will rotate to various identified areas within the city.
“Not only will Windhoek be the first city in Namibia to join the open streets concept, but one of a very few African cities,” the document read.

International concept
The concept of open streets is an international one, used to encourage alternative commuting methods and social interaction. “This is done by encouraging people to walk and cycle in designated areas on a monthly basis,” read the document.
The concept allows for free movement without the fear of being injured. Open streets are mostly complemented by cultural activities and opportunities for small businesses.
According to council, the aim is to make motorists more aware of other road users and ultimately the CoW’s intention is to implement the non-motorised transport (NMT) strategy.
Activities that will be encouraged include running, walking, cycle, open gym, food stalls, medical check-ups and small trader stalls.
Although the concept is focused mainly on voluntary work, it will come at some cost: The operational cost is budgeted at N$320 000, with an additional N$450 000 needed for marketing. Possible sponsors include the Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), First National Bank of Namibia, the Cycling Federation of Namibia and the Private Sector Road Safety Forum.
Council approved the implementation of this concept as from end of October. Other sites under consideration are Independence Avenue next to the UN Plaza, Mungunda Street at the Single Quarters, Evelyn Street and Florence Nightingale Road. - [email protected]

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