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The 15th edition of the 702 Walk the Talk came just two months ahead of the second-ever Ecomobility World Festival, taking place in Sandton in October.

Citizens walk for ecomobility
Joburgers walk past Rea Vaya's Joburg Theatre station in Braamfontein during the 15th edition of the 702 Walk the Talk. (Photo: 702 Walk the Talk on Twitter)

Ecomobility in Johannesburg is becoming a reality.

These were the words of Lisa Seftel, Executive Director of Transport in the City of Johannesburg, soon after completing the 15-kilometre route of the 702 Walk the Talk at Marks Park in Emmarentia on Sunday.

Seftel was one of 55 000 Joburg residents who took part in the 15th edition of the event on Sunday, some walking for exercise, some to be part of a wider community, some for fun - and many for a particular cause or charity.

For Seftel and the City of Joburg, the event was an ideal platform for promoting alternative ways of getting round the city - such as walking, cycling and using public transport.

This year's Walk the Talk came just two months before the City hosts the second-ever Ecomobility World Festival, during which certain streets in Sandton's CBD will be closed off to private vehicles and residents will be urged to walk, cycle or use public transport.

"Sandton will never be the same again," Seftel said as she cought her breath at the Walk the Talk finish line in crisp winter weather.

"The City is encouraging ecomobility - walking, cycling and using public transport. To promote this shift, we are creating dedicated cycle lanes and have taken the project citywide," Seftel said, adding that there was a need for a behavioural shift among motorists.

"As the City we have a number of other ambitious plans. We have completed cycling lanes in Orlando East and Fourways and are in the process of creating lanes between Melville and Doornfontein. We are also moving towards the completion of constructing cycling and pedestrian lanes between Alexandra and Sandton. We are also constructing cycling lanes between Rosebank and Sandton."

The City's exhibition stand at the Marks Park Sports Grounds was abuzz with visitors interested in the Ecomobility World Festival, which takes place from 1-31 October, coinciding with South Africa's Transport Month.

The month-long global event aims to promote the use of non-motorised transport to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, decongest the city and improve the environment.

Health and Social Development MMC Nonceba Molwele, who took the 5km option on Sunday, said she had walked to highlight the importance of adopting a healthy lifestyle.

"Being healthy in Johannesburg is a possibility for everyone. Residents can use the free green gyms in several parks around Johannesburg. We host health roadshows and education drives in and around the city and also educate people about ways in which they can grow their own food in the spaces available to them. Being healthy doesn't mean you have to have money," Molwele said.

Environment and Infrastructure Services MMC Tshidi Mfikoe, who also successfully completed the 5km walk, said she thoroughly enjoyed race.

"It was such a pleasure to see and be a part of Joburg residents taking control of their lifestyles," she said. "It's great to see others getting involved in and buying into initiatives such as this, which promote better and healthy lifestyles."