dr lisa kane

Lisa Kane Small is beautiful_ on NMT infrastructure
Picture from 'Annual Report of the City Engineer, Cape Town. 1984-1985
We are somewhat obsessed with big infrastructure projects. Whatever form they take, we love those big, sexy (expensive) infrastructure schemes. And yet, if you take a good look at the places where walking and cycling thrives (think Scandinavia, the low countries, small town UK, even Portland, US), for the most part this is not achieved on the back of big schemes.

  Rather, these shifts have been achieved thanks to decades of incremental, small-scale, local improvements to junctions, crossings, local streets, school precincts and residential neighbourhoods. By applying a road narrowing here, speed tables there, speed restrictions, play streets, one ways, traffic circles, traffic signal priorities for pedestrians, improved footways, landscaping (get the picture) then local streets and neighbourhoods have been slowed and, crucially, transformed. 

  So, my medicine for NMT in Cape Town would be budgetary and organisational. Change and increase the local government transport and planning department budget lines to better support localised action, and get over the obsession with big sexy infrastructure schemes. Of course, such medicine is mundane, slow, and not as attractive to construction companies or politicians as the big schemes…..but its cheaper and in the long run much more effective.
Lisa Kane rondebosch-cycle
Picture from ‘Annual Report of the City Engineer, Cape Town. 1984-1985’