Cycling facilities handed over in Soweto

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Pretoria - The Department of Environmental Affairs has handed over cycling facilities to the community of Orlando in Soweto.

“The Department of Environmental Affairs facilitated a partnership between KfW German Development Bank and the City of Johannesburg that resulted in the handing over of cycling facilities to the Orlando community in Soweto as part of a series of non-motorised transport awareness activities in October, Transport Month,” the department said in a statement on Friday.

October is commemorated as Transport Month in South Africa.

The department identified and established non-motorised transport (NMT) as one of the programmes to contribute towards the reduction of the carbon emissions in preparation for hosting the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

One way of achieving carbon neutral transportation is through the promotion of non-motorised transportation. This mode of transport has a low impact on the environment and the added benefit of promoting healthy societies.

“President Jacob Zuma announced prior to the Copenhagen United Nations Climate Change Conference in December 2009 that South Africa will implement nationally appropriate mitigation actions, which will result in the reduction of our carbon emissions by 34% by 2020 and by 42% in 2025, dependant on availability of finance and technology,” Minister of Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa said.

“As a country, we further introduced the National Climate Change Response Policy. The policy sets the country’s vision for an effective climate change response and the long-term transition to a climate resilient and low-carbon economy and society.

“The Non-Motorised Transport Project is integral to the implementation of the policy’s flagship programmes, with particular focus on sustainable transport.”

The cities that have been funded through this partnership are eThekwini, Johannesburg and Polokwane. The total cost is R50 million for all three municipalities.

The NMT Project forms part of the integrated public transport, which includes routes to schools and tourism attractions. It also has as a primary objective of introducing cycling as a safe mode of transport. 

The department said that many people in Soweto already walk to work, school and public transport facilities and that there is currently a very low percentage of cyclists in the area.

“This project is thus aimed at introducing cycling as an alternative mode of transport in Soweto to begin to build a cycling culture in the area.”

The City of Johannesburg has completed the construction of 5km of walking and cycling paths in Orlando. The project was funded to the tune of R16.2 million.

The route connects schools to residential areas and facilities such as the Orlando Stadium and the police station as well as Rea Vaya BRT and railway stations.

The project includes sidewalk improvements, provision of bicycle lanes, greening and storm water management, improved street lighting and the provision of bicycle racks with associated street furniture. –