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Tuesday Apr 08, 2014

Durban streets to enable walkabouts for local residents

Work on transforming Durban's Dr Pixley KaSeme (West) Street into a pedestrian zone is expected to begin in July.

The project, which is an approved legacy project, will start before the Union of International Architects (UIA) world congress which is to take place at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in August.

Municipal spokesman Thabo Mofokeng said this was part of the city's integrated development plan for sustainable public spaces.

It also complemented the Clean My City campaign and the urban management zones programme.

'This initiative is rooted in the UIA congress theme of 'otherwhere' which addresses the in-between spaces and people of our city,' he said.

Mofokeng said it would create the opportunity for more citizens to enjoy the city centre in a safe, clean, green, robust and fully liveable environment, and it was part of the actualisation of the city's 2030 vision.

Durban, according to Mofokeng, had an extremely efficient inner city road system, which had the flexibility to accommodate road closures and increased pedestrianisation.

The city's public transport system was being improved and rolled out simultaneously, so inner city and CBD accessibility would be improved.

'People on foot and cycles will find the city can be enjoyed in a different way. We are moving towards an accessible 24-hour city centre where all will be safe and enjoy a great experience,' he said.

Most of the pilot phase will be temporary and reversible.

Mofokeng said the installation process would be quick as it was similar to the approach taken in the pedestrianisation of Times Square and 55 other public road spaces in New York. 'We expect similar revolutionary changes within our inner city. It is more about what residents will feel, rather than what they will see. Their inner city environment will be vibrant, welcoming, safe and well managed. This will be an inclusive process which forms the basis for sustainability.'

The Mercury


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