Joburg EcoMobility declared a success by mayor

Johannesburg - Johannesburg City Mayor Parks Tau has declared the first week of Johannesburg’s EcoMobility World Festival 2015 a success and has thanked residents who are participating and changing the way they move around the Sandton CBD.

“We had about 400 cars using our park and ride facilities on Thursday alone and there has been an 8% increase in Gautrain bus and train use,” said the Mayor.

During the month of October various streets in Sandton have been closed to traffic to encourage people to switch from using their private vehicles to using public transport, walking and cycling.

Mayor Tau said the city had received positive feedback from many cyclists who have tested the new cycling infrastructure in Sandton.

He encouraged those resident who have not yet participates in the festival to show their commitment to eco mobility.

The Mayor was speaking on Friday at the Johannesburg Declaration on EcoMobility in Cities briefing. The declaration draws on the week of talks around eco mobility that was held as part of the month-long festival.

Eighty speakers shared their practical experiences and research on transport demand management. Local government leaders from five continents joined 500 local and international participants to engage with and express their support to eco mobility as key to a sustainable future for cities.

The declaration is expected to be taken to the UN Climate Summit (COP21) in December 2015 to convey the message that urban transport is key to addressing climate change.

The transport sector is already responsible for 16% of the global greenhouse gas emissions and accounts for 27% of global energy consumption.

“A relevant and growing share of this comes from transport in urban areas. By 2050, two thirds of the world population will live in cities. Without changing transport policies and patterns, most urban areas will continue to be major drivers of climate change, while pollution and congestion will only increase,” said Mayor Tau.

He said supporters of the Johannesburg Declaration on EcoMobility in Cities called on all spheres of government to do their part in enabling the transition to low carbon urban transport.

“Together with Local Governments for Sustainability (ECLEI), we will be lobbying cities and local government organisations to endorse this declaration in the run up to COP21,” he said.

Reading parts of the declaration, ECLEI Deputy Secretary General Monika Zimmerman said city leaders had committed to adopting urban mobility policies that replace automobile centred cities with people friendly cities, by increasing the share of walking, cycling, public transport and other forms of shared mobility.

“Mobility in our cities needs to be integrated, safe, comfortable, equitable, environmentally friendly, low carbon, low cost and effective.”

The declaration refers to public transport as the backbone for urban mobility and promotes investment in low carbon vehicles.

The City of Johannesburg has been a member of ECLEI for 19 years.

Gauteng Roads and Transport MEC Ismail Vadi called on other cities and small municipalities in the province to take from Johannesburg city and encourage residents to change their behaviour towards new transport initiatives.