Mmegi Online :: The New Rail Park Mall Pedestrian Bridge
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Friday 19 October 2018, 15:27 pm.
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The New Rail Park Mall Pedestrian Bridge

Its only recently that I discovered that Gaborone has acquired for itself a major, new townscape feature the pedestrian bridge which links the combi/Angamia eastern side of the railway line with the Rail Park Mall on the west.
By Sandy Grant Thu 06 Nov 2014, 11:40 am (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: The New Rail Park Mall Pedestrian Bridge








This handsome new bridge is now paired with the earlier, undistinguished and rather grotty bridge which takes pedestrians over the railway line to the bus rank. For many Gaborone residents the existence of this striking new bridge will come as a surprise – as indeed it did to me.  Despite the best intentions of the first planners in the early 1960s to create a colour blind non racial new capital and town, Gaborone today is more divided than most of us would care to admit. When the mail train ceased its journeying between Bulawayo, Francistown, Gaborone, Johannesburg and Cape Town the expatriate community changed its dependence patterns and shifted to a new reliance on travel by plane and by privately owned cars.

When it did so, it effectively abandoned the area around the railway station, which it no longer needed. The non-vehicle owning community promptly moved in. In an odd way, the creation of the new Railway Park Mall has highlighted this division in spectacular fashion.

The city’s vehicle owning residents who wish to shop in the new Mall are likely to undertake a circular trip, driving over the railway line to utilise its generously proportioned car park.

They may wander around the Mall’s many shops, as I have done, completely unaware that the majority of

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the people there have arrived by means of the more direct route across the railway line - the pedestrian bridge. Somewhat by chance, I discovered the new bridge for the first time when approaching it from the ‘wrong’ end.

At the time, I was more interested in watching the activity on the railway line below than wondering where the bridge might lead. And perhaps, because I am not a great addict of shopping malls, the obvious simply did not occur. 

When eventually I did cross it from one end to the other, I was startled to be deposited bang in the middle of the new Mall with sensitive escalators situated to take one down to street level. It was a revelation.

Sadly, however, I don’t imagine that this major new feature of Gaborone’s townscape will be given prominence in the standard tourist literature. It’s in the wrong part of the city and bluntly, it is used by people who are as unlikely to frequent the CBD as CBD people are to use the bridge.

Gaborone is very much a ‘them and us kind of place’ – which is perhaps unavoidable and of true of most, if not all, major settlements.

But for most of the time, many of us are unaware that this is so.

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