Open Streets 16 November on Main Road is cancelled, but hang in there…

We always knew that it would be a challenge to get Open Streets to the point where the planning would satisfy the concerns of City officials. There are many things to consider, and it is a journey for us and for the officials as we discuss how to get it right. But we are up for the challenge, and we fully expect the extra effort now will pay off in the form of a stronger partnership that will help the City understand the needs of citizen-led initiatives, and us to create a safe opportunity for participants to turn on the magic of Open Streets.

We had announced Open Streets for Main Road from Muizenberg to Kalk Bay on 16 November, and still believe that is a great place to experience the street differently, but the City’s concerns have not been allayed, and they have declined our event permit application. At this point, there is not enough time to plan another location for that date without sacrificing our principle that Open Streets must be community-led, so this year’s first Magical Street Happening will be a bit later, at a location to be announced.

Given the aim to develop a long-term programme, we see this stumbling block as an opportunity to further engage the City of Cape Town. This experience has shed light on the broader challenges Cape Town faces in creating enabling environments for people to use public space in the city and encourage genuine participation. Open Streets is not an event; it is a philosophy for public life. Ultimately, the concept is new here and needs to be proven through experiment and widespread engagement.

As part of the learning process we would like to assess the feasibility of moving the plan for Main Road to next year. In that vein, we would appreciate your suggestions, concerns and ideas.

Make sure to follow Open Streets Cape Town on Twitter and Facebook to keep track of future developments and keep 16 November in your calendar as we’ll be bringing Open Streets to Main Road in a slightly different way…


Rebecca Campbell