What is the Open Streets movement?
Cyclovia Tucson is our local interpretation of an international phenomenon known as Open Streets events. For more information on Open Streets, including a map detailing the more than 100 cities participating in this movement, visit openstreetsproject.org
Open Streets events are exactly what they sound like – they open streets to people by closing them to cars for one day, and allow people to explore different parts of their city by jogging, walking, bicycling, skating and just playing. They are non-competitive and there is no start or finish line. The event is as much about creating space for social integration as it is about providing participants with an opportunity to try try out active transportation in a safe, social atmosphere.
Why have Open Streets events?
From the Open Streets Project… Open Streets are increasingly common in towns and cities seeking innovative and cost effective ways to achieve public health, environmental, social, and economic goals. These initiatives:
Encourage physical activity and allow participants to reimagine their communities as places to walk and bike for transportation
Improve the air quality of cities by removing cars from the road
Provide a novel type of public space that helps people meet and make social connections, thereby allowing individuals, community organizations, and political leaders to build relationships
Bring thousands of people to frequent businesses and fuel local economies
Despite sharing a few basic features, Open Streets initiatives should not be confused with block parties, street fairs, or other such events. The core objectives are fundamentally different. Indeed, Open Streets are typically part of a broader city or organizational effort to encourage sustained physical activity, increase community engagement, and build support for the provision of broader transportation choices. These unique objectives distinguish Open Streets from other street-based efforts and help participants see and connect with their community in a whole new way.
Here’s a great video about the popularity of Open Streets events across North America