(Pics supplied by GSCID)
Observatory pedestrians flooded Lower Main Road on Saturday 26 October as part of the second Open Streets event.

The aim of Open Streets is to enable all citizens to move and use streets freely and safely.

The concept has been implemented in approximately 100 cities around the world and it entails the creation of a temporary network of car-free areas and routes.

Saturday’s event saw locals letting loose with soccer, dancing, cycling and cricket, as well as enjoying a spot of shopping on the pedestrianised Lower Main Road.

 

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Personal contact was also the order of the day, as Free Hugs Cape Town embraced the event.

Free Hugs celebrates the idea that it is each person’s responsibility to make a difference, says organiser Francois Nel.

“The hugs seem like a hippie gesture at first but there is much more to it, and I’m hoping it can start to open up people to their surroundings and ‘strangers’. The idea is the other person must make 50% of the effort to get the hug otherwise the hug is forced and defeats the purpose,” he says.

The event was funded by the Observatory Improvement District, local businesses as well as individuals from across South Africa and the world who contributed via a crowd-source funding effort led by Open Streets.

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Businesses have reported an up to 50% increase in profits thanks to the event, says Observatory Improvement District spokesperson Justin Ashley.

“Clearly more feet on the streets and fewer cars is good for business on a Saturday afternoon. Local businesses owners have contributed to making this possible,” he says.

 

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