As Johannesburg marks the end of Transport Month this October, the City is wasting no time in starting to make preparations for the hosting of the EcoMobility World Festival next year from 1-31 October 2015.
Johannesburg will become the second-ever city in the world to host the EcoMobility World Festival which seeks to promote the concept of car-free cities worldwide. The first city to host the festival was Suwon in South Korea in 2013.
EcoMobility is an integrated form of environmentally sustainable mobility that combines the use of non-motorized means of transport and small electric vehicles with the use of public transport, thereby avoid utilizing privately-owned cars to get around. Together with citizens, businesses and stakeholder groups and in partnership with ICLEI, the City of Johannesburg will organize a mise-en-scène of a future ecomobile lifestyle: a part of the city will be car-free for an entire month.
“We want to close off certain streets in Sandton our second largest central business district to car traffic and instead use these lanes for public transport, walking, cycling, skating and other forms of ecomobility during the entire transport month in October 2015”, says executive mayor of Johannesburg councilor Parks Tau.
Mayor Tau said that the City wanted to show residents and visitors that a car free city is possible and that public transport, walking and cycling can be accessible, safe, attractive and cool.
The choice of Johannesburg as the host of the 2015 EcoMobility World Festival is a recognition by the international community of its leadership role in seeking to implement sound and sustainable environmental issues for the benefit of its people.
The City will provide alternative transport in and out of Sandton during this month. It will host discussions, fun runs, cycle rides and other events to attract people to the Sandton CBD to experience the car-free environment. The City will also use the opportunity to showcase its international award-winning Rea Vaya bus rapid transit (BRT) system and to promote cycling and walking.
The initiative is driven by ICLEI, a worldwide movement of cities committed to changing their future to a sustainable path. The City of Johannesburg is a long-standing member of ICLEI.
ICLEI Secretary General Gino Van Begin says,“The EcoMobility World Festival is a chance for a city to demonstrate to the entire world that citizens and city leaders can make a difference in addressing climate change, urban emissions and urban livability through ecomobile transport.”
The month-long EcoMobility World Festival and the three-day EcoMobility World Congress will be the latest in a growing list of global events to be hosted in Johannesburg since the dawn of democracy in 1994. It comes after among others, ICLEI’s Local Government Session during the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development and the C40 Mayors’ Summit on Climate Change in February 2014.
For more information on the EcoMobility World Festival, visit www.ecomobilityfestival.org or watch the documentaries at www.theurbanidea.com/7.html.
Issued on behalf of Councillor Christine Walters
Member of the mayoral committee for Transport
City of Joburg
082 467 9415