Monday, July 21, 2014

Cincy Summer Streets

Last weekend Cincinnati had it's first "Open Streets" event - Cincy Summer Streets. Open Streets is a national movement that temporarily closes streets to car traffic for a few hours on a weekend, and opens them up for people to run, bike, walk, and play. The concept is believed to have begun in Bogota (they call it ciclovia), where they close down 70+ miles of streets to cars every sunday. There are now over 100 open streets events taking place every summer in the US.

Planning for our first event began in April of 2013, and we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. It was an incredible amount of work. And none of it would have happened without my co-conspirators Anne Sesler and Margy Waller, and the generous support of the Haile Foundation and Interact for Health.

Our first event took place in the Walnut Hills/East Walnut Hills neighborhoods, along McMillan Street from Gilbert Avenue to Woodburn Avenue, and along Woodburn Avenue from McMillan Street to Madison Road (1 mile total). We had 25 activities along the route: gigantic chalk for drawing in the street, salsa dancing, belly dancing, double dutch jump roping, hula hoops, yoga, mural painting, corn hole, giant jenga, a scavenger hunt, and much more.

It was incredible.  I drive those streets all the time, but I have never seen them so vibrant and full of life. Hundreds of people, young and old, black and white, walking, riding bicycles, pushing strollers, talking, dancing, it was a beautiful sight.

Our next event will take place in Northside on August 24th. Be there.