Why Open Streets?
What are the benefits of having Open Streets?
- Open Streets programs provide a multitude of benefits to their host town. They provide communities with accessible, free recreation, leading to improved public health. They are exercises in social integration, connecting neighborhoods and allowing all residents to meet in the street as equals. Local businesses are provided the opportunity to showcase their wares to new potential customers, without the outside vendors that often accompany street festivals and events. Open Streets programs offer communities the opportunity to experience their city streets in whole new ways, encouraging greater civic participation and building support for the provision of broader transportation choices.
What makes Open Streets different from other street closure events like races, parades, or food festivals?
- There are a number of ways in which Open Streets are different from other street closure events. Open Streets encourages physical activity. They are about exploring your town in a new and fun way, highlighting existing brick and mortar businesses and civic assets, like museums and galleries and parks. Most importantly, Open Streets are entirely free and accessible. There are no user fees or entrance charges. No start lines or finish lines. Participants can enter and exit the route wherever and whenever they wish. You don’t need to be a high-performing athlete to participate, and you don’t need to be able to afford those $100 yoga pants either. Open Streets programs are for anyone and everyone.
What impact do Open Streets have on business?
- A common concern is that Open Streets will harm small-scale business. In reality, Open Streets programs are often a boon to local brick and mortar businesses. One of the defining features of Open Streets programs is that they do not feature outside vending. Unlike many street events, no one will be putting up a tent or parking a food truck in front of an existing business. Open Streets provides the opportunities for local businesses to showcase their neighborhood without outside interference. A number of studies conducted in several American cities have captured the economic benefits available to businesses along Open Streets routes. For more information, take a look at this Local Economies Fact Sheet.
Street closures and parking
Which streets will be closed?
- Jackson St will be closed to traffic from the northern end at 252 to Third St; Third will be closed from Jackson St to West, and West will be closed from Third St down to Glen Providence Park (including a little bit of State St from West to the Park entrance). There will be no parking on the route streets during the event.
Will cars be towed if left on the street?
- There will be no parking on the event route (Jackson between 252 and Third, Third between Jackson and West, West between Third and Glen Providence Park) from 8:30 am to 1:30 pm on Saturday, Sept 29, 2018. Please relocate your car by 8 am on Saturday, Sept 29th. If you’re an early riser, plan to move your vehicle by 8 am. Otherwise, please move your vehicle on Friday night.
- As a safety measure to protect the attendees, vehicles left on the event streets after 8 am will be towed. The only exception will be the reserved residential handicapped spots.
How will driving near the route be affected?
- You should not plan on being able to drive a vehicle across or onto the event route. We recommend that you park your vehicle on one of the cross streets on either side of the event route. If you must cross the event route that day in your car, there will be designated intersections at Third and Lemon for north-south traffic and at 5th and Jackson for east-west traffic. If you need to use one of these intersections, please wait until a volunteer marshal (we’ll have them at every intersection) tells you it’s safe to do so.
- We will have partial barriers at intersections one block from the route with signs that say “Road Closed—Local Traffic Only.” These are to indicate that you may drive into that block but that you won’t be able to go further. In lieu of your having to turn around and go back, the partial barrier is to inform you that your way will be blocked at the end of that street.
When will cars be allowed back on the route?
- The route will begin to be opened back up at 1:30pm and the barriers will begin to be removed if it is safe to do so. Be advised, though, that people may still be in, near, or crossing the streets and may not be expecting car traffic yet. Be extra alert and ready to stop quickly. State St in front of Glen Providence Park (from West St to Baltimore Ave) will be the last to open to cars as there will still be festivities in the Park until 2pm.
What’s the best way to avoid the route if driving?
- For safest car travel during the event, we suggest you try to use Monroe St for north-south travel, and any street south of Third for east-west travel. If you are driving anywhere near the route, please use extra caution as there may be more people on foot near the event route, compared to normal foot traffic.
Other general questions
Are dogs allowed on the Open Streets route?
- Yes, dogs on leash are welcome, but not expressly encouraged since this is our first year and we want to see how things go. As always, you should use your own judgment on how compatible your dog will be on a possibly crowded street with people and wheeled vehicles moving at various speeds and directions. Obviously, if you walk in the street with your dog, make sure to clean up after him or her.
Are motorized wheelchairs or electric-assisted bicycles allowed?
- Motorized wheelchairs are allowed. Electric-assisted bicycles are allowed as well. Please remember that most of your fellow participants will be moving slower than you will with the electric motor engaged. People will also be moving in all directions, not necessarily in straight lines. Be extra cautious to avoid collisions.