Quick Facts about Open Streets and Best Practices
Some quick statistics:
There are 490 regular semi-annual or more frequent Open Streets or Cyclovias in 24 countries around the world.
92% are in Latin America.
93% began in the 21st century.
Routes range from one to 113 kilometers. The number of kilometers tends to increase over time. The routes should be flexible and should reflect public demand and interest.
73%, including most in the U.S., are less than 10 kilometers.
They attract up to 1.5 million people, with the median being 1600.
95% are available at least 150 minutes a week.
56% worldwide are weekly.
40% are seasonal.
3% are biweekly.
71% of participants live in the zip codes en route.
The most successful have complementary programs, such as physical activity classes or sports programs. Many target specific activities to specific groups, such as the elderly, parents with children, the disabled, etc. The best include long routes through multiple neighborhoods with attractive scenery, connecting public parks, activity centers, and other spaces to each other, and taking place at least 12 times a year. Convenient parking and public transportation also contribute to the success, as does the quality of the information about alternative roadways, available parking and public transportation.
The most successful Open Streets are those that are safe, visually appealing, and clean, and have trees, water elements, sculptures, food, and places to sit. Adolescents are significantly more likely to exercise if the space is aesthetically appealing. Parents are more likely to encourage their children to exercise if the space is safe from crime and traffic. Nature is key.
The preferred location of an Open Street is one that needs little involvement from local officials and volunteers. At a minimum, the ideal location offers the following: