The City of eThekwini has unveiled its Non-Motorised Transport (NMT) Network at the Green Hub in Durban.
Mayor James Nxumalo on Thursday said the city was committed to developing public transport infrastructure that was safe and easy to use for its citizens.
The NMT network provides accessible lanes and routes for citizens to reach public transport.
“There are some people living in our city that are unable to access public transport safely because of the lack of this basic infrastructure and today we celebrate the beginning of the roll out of this plan through GO! Durban – our Integrated Rapid Public Transport Network,” said Mayor Nxumalo.
The NMT network caters for transport that is “human powered” including cycling, push scooters, wheelchair travel, roller skates, skateboards and hand carts. It also caters for “animal powered” transport such as horse and carriage drawn carts.
The plan for the NMT network will include sidewalks, off-road paths, safe crossings, pedestrian bridges and cycle areas for recreational and commuting purposes.
The focus, however, will be on commuter-based use, which enables people to walk and cycle throughout the city. It will be designed in a way that will keep pedestrians safe from motorised vehicles.
“The success of the NMT will be judged on how it delivers on four pillars: its ability to connect people to places and communities; how it enhances lifestyles and results in an environment that is safer; how it promotes economic growth and prosperity, and whether it is delivered in an efficient and sustainable way,” Mayor Nxumalo said.
Part of the NMT’s foundation was developed in the years preceding the 2010 FIFA World Cup, with a massive upgrade of the beachfront.
The idea of connecting people and communities that was created by the city for the event included walkway routes such as the Green Walk Cycle Circuit, Walk all the Way System and Connect to Rail.
eThekwini will now create NMT networks across the city that will include Umlazi, KwaMashu, Chatsworth, Inanda, KwaXimba, uMbumbulu and Buffelsdraai.
The long term goal is that as these intra-city mini networks grow, they will exponentially connect the various areas of the city.
The benefits of non-motorised transport are that they are non-polluting, versatile, reliable and promote physical exercise.
Mayor Nxumalo has also committed to creating development and empowerment programmes for underprivileged children in the city to help them participate in recreational and competitive cycling events.
The city will launch a bike share system for municipal staff, which will encourage the use of bikes. The city also hopes to learn important lessons on how to build sustainable business for entrepreneurs through this.