Ecomobility fever grips Sandton

Johannesburg’s Executive Mayor, Mpho Parks Tau had said that the Festival will demonstrate to the world that an ecomobile future is possible and that public transport, walking and cycling can be accessible, safe and attractive.

As host of this global event, the City will close off certain streets to vehicular traffic in Sandton and encourage people to walk, cycle or use public transport throughout the entire Transport Month. The EcoMobility World Festival and Exhibition is a global biennial event hosted in a major city.

The inaugural festival, organised in partnership with the Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI), was held in Suwon, South Korea, in 2013.

“The City of Johannesburg is now taking the lead in the implementation of the plan through the introduction of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system – Rea Vaya – cycle lanes and improved public transport facilities. The EcoMobility Festival is part of this grand implementation plan. [The festival] is set to give the people of Johannesburg a preview of what the streets of not only a future Sandton but the rest of the city will look like with decongested traffic. This will also be a time when preference will be given to public transport, bicycles and pedestrians," he said.

He said the time had come for those who lived, worked and played in Johannesburg to come out and enjoy the streets. The promotion of the non-motorised transport culture in Johannesburg goes to as far back as 2011 when the City initiated the “Streets Alive” campaign, during which streets were closed off for a certain period of time in certain communities and people encouraged to use them for walking, cycling, festivals and other recreational activities.

The City has also, in partnership with cycling activists and organisations, developed cycle lanes in Johannesburg, promoted access to affordable bicycles in disadvantaged communities, improved cycle safety and awareness, and promoted cycling as a normative mode of transport.

“We want it to be a festival for the people. We want more people in Sandton during the month. We want people to be in Sandton to enjoy and create excitement. We want to enable the people to make a seamless transition between different modes of transport and switch from Gautrain to commuter rail. They must be able to move from Metrobus to Rea Vaya, to a taxi within one location and then get onto a bicycle or walk for the final sections of their journey,” Mayor Tau said.

Find out more about street closures here: EcoMobility Transport Management Plan

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