Sandton Central is becoming more pedestrian-friendly in keeping with global urban trends.
Traditionally many of the entrances to buildings in SA’s business capital were accessed via parkades. Now Sandton has a new generation of innovative commercial properties with welcoming street-level entrances, expanded pavement widths and pedestrian-friendly urban designs. The increased walkability should boost health and economic and environmental benefits for those with real estate investments, businesses or homes in this financial hub.
Recent improvements include the changes under way around the Gautrain Sandton Station, its outer face connecting a vibrant street-fronted retail area with those on foot – the station pavement has been expanded to a wider pedestrian zone of 5,2m in some areas and a new pavement design includes trees and balustrades. West Street’s pavements were improved for the City of Johannesburg’s EcoMobility World Festival 2015. They are now getting an additional makeover to improve pedestrian access.
Situated above and adjacent to the Gautrain station, Kgoro Central is a new mixed-use green development that will create a pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly urban environment using wide, demarcated walkways, cycle paths and facilities. Sandton City has added a pedestrian-friendly entrance with its Protea Court expansion. In 2018, Discovery moves to a new resource-efficient, sustainable 87,000m2 global head office building.
Improved walkability makes a city more appealing to residents and businesses, according to Elaine Jack, city improvement district manager, Sandton Central Management District. “Much of Sandton’s road infrastructure was developed with only vehicles in mind, typical of the development of its time. Today it is increasingly recognised that walkability is an important part of sustainable urban design,” says Jack.
This article originally appeared in Neighbourhood, Sunday Times.