MAIDEN EDITION OF OPEN STREETS IN NIGERIA
OpenStreets is a free event bringing together cycling and walking advocates, community groups, residents and local businesses to temporarily close major urban roads/streets at the city center to motor traffic, and instead, opening the road up for people walking, cycling, rolling, skating, dancing and playing. It opens streets for peoples of all ages, abilities and status to enjoy the freedom that urban roads should offer. Open Streets started a few years ago in Colombia and is currently being held in different cities across the world, South Africa cities are leading the way in Africa. It conforms to targets of the Sustainable Development Goals and the New Urban Agenda.
WHY OPENSTREETS ABUJA
Over the years, a car-centric mobility model have evolved in our cities. This has made the motorcar so important, a symbol of affluence and almost the mobility choice for all residents. The resultant effect is the current situation where the car is used for all urban journeys even for those less than a kilometer, city authorities think more, and invest steadily in car oriented developments neglecting active mobility modes such as cycling, mobility for persons with disability and walking. Today the streets have become unsafe for kids and adults alike, the elderly cannot explore their neighborhoods, and there is almost no provision of facilities for persons with disability. This gave rise to Open Streets.
Open streets enable residents and visitors explore their streets and neighborhood equitably in a safe, fun, family-friendly environment. It focuses on building a new culture of returning the city back to the people. The short and long term benefits includes encouraging walking and cycling combined with public transport; this will reduce motorcar usage, make walking and cycling a lifestyle for residents, give sense of belonging to persons with disability, make residents more healthier, save cost of transportation for individuals and families, reduce traffic congestions, pollution and urban noise from cars, amongst other benefits. It is reforming mindset and rethinking our streets and neighborhoods as space for people rather than for cars.
WHAT WE DO ON AN OPENSTREET DAY
A portion of a major urban road (2km to 10km) is closed to motor vehicles for a period lasting for some hours. Within this period, residents and visitors troop out, walking, cycling, skating, and rolling. Musical bands provide live music and people dance, children play, adults seat-out, residents hold meetings, cycling clinics and sustainable urban mobility knowledge can be shared through talk shows and printed materials, Political leaders come to reassure participants of a city for all. It’s all fun for everybody.
Whereas this is an NGO/private sector initiative, the success of it is largely dependent on wide stakeholder collaboration, to that extent, we welcome participation and support of government and non-governmental organizations, civil society, private entities, and spirited individuals whose interests includes sustainable/active and low/no carbon emission transportation, urban renewal, equity and mobility for persons with disability, children and the elderly, as we work together in a citizen-driven initiative to change how we use, perceive and experience streets. Volunteers are also needed and are being sort.
MEDIA AND PUBLIC AWARENESS
We engage different media activities including the electronic (TV and Radio), Print and Social media to market the OpenStreets initiative. The 1st and 2nd edition held in Nigeria in 2019, Nigeria became the second country after the open street series in South Africa. Specifically, we have the following as pre-event, during event and post event publicity schedules.
- Social Media: Our social media platforms are currently being worked upon, these includes Twitter, Facebook LinkedIn and U-tube channels
- Website: for a start, a segment on Ochenuel Mobility website www.mobility.ochenuel.com.ng has being created for OpenStreets Abuja.
- Fliers, Posters and Banners: A wide range of fliers, posters and banners are being produced to place in strategic locations.
- Rally: a pre-event rally/motorcade will hold through the event location and other strategic points in Abuja to announce the event.
- Invitation: letters will be written to convey invitation and details to important personalities and institutions.
- School Involvement: Some primary and secondary schools are already being contacted to compete in artistic drawing depicting ideal urban mobility. Winners will go home with bicycles.
- Report: Finally a strategic event report shall be published after the program that shall be circulated globally and to local stakeholders and the press.
All of these provides marketing opportunity not only of the event but for all our partners and sponsors to market their products and services
At the end of this maiden edition which is intended to be replicated in different parts of the city to be held two or three times a year, it is hope that:
- a strong message would have been passed to all participants and the public through the various media outreaches to see themselves as owners of the road and public places in urban centers, and they become advocates
- responsible government authorities would have found more reasons to develop or modify cities and its streets with all persons in mind irrespective of their ages, abilities and status and their choices for daily commute.
- more importantly, a stakeholder engagement would have taken place to help in consolidating the advocacy for sustainable mobility that meets the needs of all in line with the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals and the New Urban Agenda.
PROCEDURE FOR PARTNERSHIP/SPONSORSHIP
When you have decided to be a partner and or sponsor, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with CC to email@example.com indicating your interest. You will get a response and thereafter all payments should be made at least a week before the event while all materials should be delivered our office before the event. For further information call +234 805 5994 943