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Tuesday Dec 31, 2013

Long Street closure 'long-term solution'

The closure of portions of Long Street tonight could be the start of a New Year's resolution for Cape Town.

If all goes well, the evening road closure - granted by the City of Cape Town to keep partygoers and bar owners safe on the busy night - could become a year-round feature.

The idea was spearheaded by the bar, Beerhouse, in collaboration with several other business owners in the street, to turn the 'heart and soul of Cape Town' into a more attractive and secure place.

'Tonight is the perfect opportunity for us to work together and help create an environment we and our patrons want to be part of,' said Beerhouse in a statement.

'Previous experience has shown the sheer number of people coming to the CBD to celebrate New Year causes havoc on the road. This is further aggravated by cars... trying to move through thousands of unmanaged people, drinking and partying in the street, making the road their dance floor.'

The city will close off the road from 8pm to 4am.

Ward councillor Dave Bryant said businesses on Long Street had lobbied for the road closure. The plan was finalised only at 'the last minute', but he it would benefit partygoers.

He said the closure's chief benefit was an open and clear road for emergency vehicles. 'If you see that road at night it is filled with stand-still traffic and nothing is moving through there.'

There will also be increased control over who enters the area, as well as better observation opportunities for security officials.

Clubs and bars on Long Street will be providing their own security guards to aid CCID security guards and SAPS officials who will be patrolling the street tonight.

Bryant was looking forward to the results of the trial run.

'If this works out well, we can start looking at making this a regular closure in the city.'

Cape Argus


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