Where are Open Streets Held?

Notable Domestic Examples

Sunday Streets San Francisco (population 870,000)

  • Started in 2008 with very skeptical merchants; now very popular with them.
  • Collaboration between San Francisco MTA, San Francisco Public Health Dept., the city, the county, and an NGO called Livable City.
  • Eight times a year, eight different routes, 1-4 miles each, 10:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
  • Funded through public money, private money, and grants.  The city provides MOT, staff, cleaning, and barricades.

Brownsville Cyclobia (population 183,823)

  • Busiest streets in city, 6.2 miles.
  • Connects six parks and activities are held in each park; people who participate in activities get plastic wrist bands.
  • Fundamental basis is that the working class without cars should have the same access to streets as citizens with cars.
  • Four times a year.
  • Bike rodeos, free bike repairs, bike safety tips.
  • City health department takes the lead.
  • Funded through a plastic bag ordinance that brings $70,000 a month into city coffers. 

Other examples in the United States:

  • ·         Washington, D.C. closes 8.5 miles Beach Drive, a main north-south artery from 7 a.m. on Saturdays until 7 p.m. on Sundays every weekend.
  • ·         Cambridge, Massachusetts has reserved Memorial Drive for bicycle and pedestrian traffic on Sundays from April to November since 1976.  It also closes Massachusetts Ave. to cars on Sundays now.
  • ·         El Paso, Texas has Scenic Sundays April through August, when Scenic Drive is closed to cars. San Antonio connects two parks with its Open Street.
  • ·         Las Cruces, New Mexico has car-free days on the last Sunday of each month.  Activities include biking, walking, dance, Wii, bungee runs, aerobics, and weight training.  The events are put on by a partnership of the New Mexico Department of Health, New Mexico State University's Southern Area Health Education Center, the Cooperative Extension Service from NMSU's College of Agriculture and Home Economics, the City of Las Cruces, Southern New Mexico Diabetes Outreach, and the Doña Ana County Diabetes Action Coalition.
  • ·         Wayne County, Michigan has held car-free days on the Edward N. Hines Parkway since 1983.  Called Saturday in the Park, six miles of the parkway are closed to motorized vehicles every Saturday from May through September.
  • ·         New York City closes the roads traversing Central Park each and every weekend.  Manhattan also has the Highline, which has proved immensely popular among walkers.  It’s a different animal, but not completely dissimilar. 
  • ·         A portion of the Bronx River Highway in Westchester County, New York closes each Sunday for two months every year.
  • ·         Essex County, New Jersey each Sunday closes a main artery connecting two towns, creating a two-mile pedestrian and bike trail.
  • ·         In San Mateo County, California, there is a weekly Sunday closure of 4 miles of Cañada Road.
  • ·         Philadelphia closes a seven-mile portion of M.L. King Dr. for five hours a day every Sunday from April to October, for Philly Free Streets.
  • ·         Phoenix, Arizona has Silent Sundays once a month from May through Marc, for seven hours each day.
  • ·         Seattle, Washington has Bicycle Sundays.
  • ·         Atlanta, Georgia closes Peachtree St. four times a year.

From around the world:

  • ·         Jakarta, Indonesia shuts its main north-south artery and other roads two Sundays a month.
  • ·         Each Sunday and public holiday, certain main streets of Bogotá, Cali, Medellín, and other municipalities in Colombia are blocked off to cars for runners, skaters, and bicyclists.  Stages are set up in city parks for aerobics instructors, yoga teachers, and musicians to lead people through various performances.  Bogota’s weekly bicycle days are used by approximately 2 million people (about 30% of the population) on 142 miles of car-free streets.  Some main streets in Bogota are also closed on weeknights once rush hour has ended.
  • ·         Each Sunday and holiday, important avenues of Rosario, Argentina are blocked off for car-free events when runners, skaters and bicyclists take over the streets. Rosario's car-free days are used by approximately 30,000 thousand people on over 8 miles of car-free streets.  Buenos Aires, Argentina started its car-free road network in 2009, and as of 2013 it covers more than 62 miles and continues expanding.
  • ·         In Brazil, walkable city streets are commonly closed on Sunday in major cities, one notable example being Avenida Atlântica in Copacabana, Rio De Janeiro.
  • ·         Ottawa has had street closures since 1970.  Every Sunday morning during the summer over 30 miles of roads in the heart of Ottawa and nearby Gatineau Park are reserved for cyclists, in-line skaters, runners, and pedestrians.
  • ·         In Quito, Ecuador, an 18-mile north-south artery is closed to cars every Sunday.
  • ·         Mexico City has several car-free circuits on Sundays, the most important runs 36 miles.  Guadalajara has 37 miles of bike routes available on Sundays. 
  • ·         Lima, Peru closes its major Avenida Arequipa to motorized traffic every Sunday.
  • ·         Santiago, Chile closes several of its main roads including those along the river, each and every Sunday.
  • ·         Pristina, Kosovo closes its main street to cars every Sunday.
  • ·         In France, Paris Respire (literally "Paris breathes") mandates that certain roads be closed to vehicular traffic on Sundays and public holidays.  The roads include those by the River Seine, in the Marais, the Canal Saint Martin, Montmartre and elsewhere in the city.
  • ·         Calle Roosevelt in San Salvador, El Salvador bans cars every Sunday.
Many other cities throughout the world regularly close major streets to vehicular traffic on an occasional basis.  Many cities also have created permanent pedestrian zones downtown and residents and visitors have come to embrace them.  Many cities have created pedestrian and bicycle networks that provide commuters with attractive alternatives to automobiles and other gas guzzling vehicles.  Atlanta, Gainesville, Greenville, SC, and Fort Collins are among such cities who support and embrace the Open Streets initiative. 



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