what are open streets?
Atlanta Streets Alive is a part of an international open streets movement happening in many cities throughout the U.S., Canada, and around the world.
The first open streets initiative was called Ciclovía, or “bikeway” in Spanish. Ciclovía started in Bogotá, Colombia and now draws over 1.5 million people to walk, bike, skate and enjoy more than 70 miles of streets opened to people – and closed to automobile traffic – every Sunday. Founded in 1976, it started small and grew in the 1990s under the mayor and the parks director, brothers Enrique and Guillermo Peñalosa. By 1996 it was recognized as the most important recreational activity in the country. The route was extended to 50 miles in 1997 and events to add appeal beyond biking were added.
Open Streets in North America
The ciclovía movement has a presence in North America that dates back more than 25 years. Among the oldest initiatives, started in 1983, is Wayne County, Michigan’s “Saturday in the Park,” in which a six-mile stretch of the Edward Hines Parkway is closed to motorized traffic every Saturday from May through September. By the late 2000s, the concept had spread to a number of U.S. cities including Cleveland, Philadelphia, New York, and Portland, OR. Today, ciclovía-style events take place in over 30 communities around the U.S. and Canada.
Open Streets National Summit
In 2015, the Alliance for Biking and Walking held the Open Streets National Summit in Atlanta, in tandem with Atlanta Streets Alive, which was founded by the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition in 2010 and has grown in popularity since then. The Open Streets National Summit featured sessions and breakouts led by local, national, and international leaders in the Open Streets movement.
It's not just about the bike
The Open Streets movement is about so much more than biking. Open Streets are about getting communities active and changing the way people view their streets and neighborhoods. By incorporating arts and culture, we create vibrant public spaces that invite people to participate in healthy physical activity. And the beautiful thing about Open Streets is they are for everyone--from young to old, from people on skateboards and rollerblades to people in wheelchairs.