Muizenberg would like to welcome ALL people to our beautiful recreational areas – but sometimes this falls flat because of unthinking actions. Parking on a pedestrian crossing may not seem like the worst thing in the world on a busy Sunday morning when the beachfront is packed and parking spaces are scarce as hens’ teeth – people can just walk round, no big deal. Except if you happen to be in a wheelchair, need the assistance of a walker … in which case the situation becomes a real problem. Illegal parking is disabling!

The City of Cape Town wants Cape Town to be a Universally Accessible (UA) destination, and MID has seized on this as an opportunity for Muizenberg. The suburb would make an ideal project: it’s already a well-known destination internationally, and it’s contained enough to make a small-scale project possible to see how implementing UA enables access to all City facilities in Muizenberg .

If successful, it would bring considerable improvements to the area for those with different abilities, the elderly and families using prams for young children.

Universal access means looking at all aspects of the public space environment to ensure that areas are accessible and easy to use for everyone. If you visit the City Centre you will see some examples: ramping the road down at pedestrian crossings for easy wheelchair access, the bubble paving at kerb sides to ensure you always know when you’re at the edge – even if you can’t see the edge very well, the high-frequency sound that pedestrian robots make when the green man lights up, parking facilities, toilet facilities, etc.

As with most City projects the motivation, evaluation and planning process is a long road. After engaging with various City departments, MID finally met with the Non-Motorized Transport Division (NMT, a relatively new department in the City) two months ago to highlight the need for UA in Muizenberg. The next steps for NMT are to collect motivations, conduct impact and benefit assessments, and so on before any decisions are reached. But MID is actively making sure that Muizenberg is on their radar for consideration.

In the meanwhile, we’d like to appeal to residents and visitors alike: keep in mind those with different abilities and make sure that your actions don’t prevent them from also enjoying our public spaces and facilities!


About MID:

The Muizenberg Improvement District [MID] is a geographic area where property owners have contracted to pay a levy to facilitate a joint effort by the City of Cape Town and the local community to ensure more effective management of public areas and to promote business confidence.The MID supplements normal municipal services provided by the City, using its funds to deal with public safety, enhance the environment and address social issues like vagrancy and finding workable solutions for the homeless. The Muizenberg Improvement District is a legal entity established under the City’s Special Rating Areas by-law and also governed by the South African Companies Act 2008.