More and more cities are seeing the benefits of Open Streets. In 2007, there were less than 10 Open Streets initiatives around the United States. Now, there are over 100.
But what’s all the hype about, anyway? We’ve put a Bloomington spin on this post: 10 Reasons Open Streets Initiatives Rock
There are plenty of reasons to get excited about Open Streets. Here are ten reasons why Open Streets are awesome.
1. Open Streets let you explore your city in a new way.
When else can you walk or bike down the middle of a street without having to worry about cars? Open Streets allow participants to leisurely stroll or ride through their community and discover buildings, neighborhoods and places that they’ve never noticed before.
Many studies show ( 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 ) how Open Streets help local businesses, and not just on the day of the initiative. Open Streets help people discover new stores and restaurants, and offer shops the chance to impress thousands of potential customers.
And check this out, Cyclists and Pedestrians Can End Up Spending More Each Month Than Drivers. Opening up the streets to let people see how walking and biking friendly the area is can mean more business after the event!
3. Open Streets attract new faces.
You never know who you might run into at Open Streets!
Open Streets draw participants from all parts of the community, and can attract people who don’t usually find themselves advocating for safer streets (but they probably will after the event!).
4. Open Streets get people moving.
Open Streets make it easy for people of all ages and abilities to get up and move! You don’t need any fancy equipment, membership or trainers — just two feet or a pair of wheels.
At an Open Streets in Louisville, researchers found that half of participants were more physically active that day.
5. Open Streets lower the barrier to getting around without a car.
Some people might be intimidated to ride bikes on cities streets with traffic. Open Streets provide a safe space for people to ride — and to learn just how easy it can be to get around their community on two wheels.
Likewise, Brother David was happy to be able to move about his neighborhood without worrying about a lack of sidewalks or other barriers.
6. Open Streets create new advocates for safer streets.
Once people see how quickly they can move about their city on a bike, they start pushing for more complete streets, trails and bike lanes. Open Streets initiatives are great ways to help advocates bring in new voices for better streets.
Open Streets welcomes volunteers year round, if you want to help out just let us know!
7. Open Streets make connections with new partners.
Many people who have attended Open Streets Bloomington have discovered businesses and organizations they didn’t know existed!
In 2015, Open Streets Bloomington collaborated with Cardinal Spirits, Hopscotch Coffee, and ShareBloomington, to name a few.
8. Open Streets are great for families.
The people powered pace of Open Streets are perfect for families. There is something to do for everyone, whether it is walking, riding a bike or participating in one of the many supporting activities. People of a variety of physical abilities can find something suitable at Open Streets.
9. Open Streets are a great opportunity to strengthen ties with public officials.
Elected officials — from the mayor’s office to the state legislature all the way up to Congress — love to be a part of great community programs.
10. They’re fun!
There is nothing like the feeling of having the whole street open to biking and walking during an Open Streets initiative. It’s so fun!