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08/09/2015: Pedal power, TJ 10s to rule the roost in Sandton
08 September 2015
The heartbeat of Johannesburg will slow down to a less frantic pace when the EcoMobility World Festival turns sections of the wheeling and dealing capital that is Sandton into a car-free zone in less than a month.

From the beginning until the end of October, certain streets of Sandton, which houses the corporate headquarters of leading multinational companies, will be closed off to traffic as local and international festival delegates contemplate the future of commuting without vehicles. And if you do not know your way around the environmentally friendly jargon – from your pedicab to your pedometer – you need no longer suffer in silence as these terms and more will be interrogated by experts, City of Johannesburg officials, policymakers and other stakeholders as they map out the future of mobility in our cities.

Pedicabs, which have become popular in major cities of the world, are tricycle-taxis, much like the rickshaws in Durban but with the driver using pedal power to propel it forward. Pedometers count the number of steps you take on a daily basis and could help you raise your fitness levels and earn you points from your medical aid. But despair not, dear Joburg resident. It will not be all talk and no action.

During the festival, cyclists and pedestrians will be let loose on closed-off streets. There will be fun runs to ensure executives get into their “summer bodies” in time for the beach holiday and families will also be catered for at pop-up parks and restaurants, music and food festivals.

The City of Johannesburg, the host of the festival, has partnered with leading health group Discovery to stage an urban duathlon in Sandton from October 24 and 25. The cycle challenge is open to athletes of different fitness levels, families and people of all ages.

“We want to grow a movement of ecomobility champions of ordinary men, women and young people who walk, cycle and use public transport to share their experiences with each other and have a healthy lifestyle and contribute to a more sustainable Joburg for this and future generations,” says Executive Mayor Clr Parks Tau.

At the end of the festival, first held in Suwon, South Korea, two years ago, the residents of Sandton will be left with the legacy of the Ecomobility World Festival infrastructure, which includes walkways, cycling lanes and dedicated public transport lanes for Rea Vaya buses, which use less-polluting fuels to mitigate environmental degradation.

“We’re working towards a future in which cars will comprise less than 45% of the vehicle traffic in the Sandton precinct,” says Lisa Seftel, the City’s Executive Director for Transport.

To keep up to date with events around the festival, which streets will be closed off and to find weird and wonderful ways of navigating your way through the urban jungle using pedal power or your TJ 10s, that is your two feet in Jozi parlance, you can visit www.ecomobilityfestival.org or www.ecomobilityfestival.co.za.

ENDS

You can follow @ecomobility and join the conversation using #joburgecomobility or like http://www.facebook.com/ecomobilityfestival.org.

Issued by the City of Johannesburg

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Last Updated on 16 September 2015