Open Streets Columbus: Installment One – Rich Street
Streets used to be gathering places. They used to be places where both adults and kids would congregate. The adults would socialize and the kids would play. Now, playgrounds are built far away from streets and usually protected by some sort of fencing or barrier. Meanwhile, pedestrians have been herded up to signalized intersections in order to cross safely. Our city streets have been designed with one purpose in mind: to move cars.
Well, sometimes you need to turn everything upside-down to get it right-side up.
Ever wonder what it would feel and look like if cars were temporarily removed from streets so that people and families could use them for biking, jogging, yoga, and more? After almost three years of meetings, conversations, and A LOT of “No”, I’m thrilled to write this piece. I wouldn’t be able to write this piece without the support of: People For Bikes, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, New Belgium Brewing Company, and Capital Crossroads Special Improvement District.
Open Streets is a free initiative that temporarily closes streets to autos so that people can bike, skateboard, dance, and more. By removing the daily dangers of motor vehicles, people of all ages, abilities, and ethnic backgrounds can use streets to once again connect with one another and engage in fun, physical activities. How do you explore new businesses or appreciate a building’s architecture when you’re going 35+ mph? You don’t. Open Streets allows you to explore through a whole new lens.
Currently, there are over 100 documented Open Streets initiatives happening in cities and towns all over the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Africa and our team is proud to announce Open Streets Columbus will be added to that list.
On Sunday, September 21st from 10am to 2pm, 0.8 miles of downtown streets will be temporarily closed to autos, to become an activated urban playground for everyone to come down and experience. The first Open Streets Columbus installment on Rich Street is a special one. This year, Open Streets Columbus has partnered with the great people of Independents’ Day. As you know, this year’s ID will be held in the great Franklinton neighborhood. Open Streets Columbus will be a great compliment to the Sunday portion of the local festival. Come play and socialize in the streets for a few hours then head on down and listen to some great local music and support local business.
See you all in the streets!
Stay up to date with Open Streets Columbus at www.openstreetscolumbus.org.