Greater Greater Washington

Public Spaces


Weekend video: The beauty of Open Streets

The Alliance for Biking & Walking and Streetfilms have teamed up to produce a new video celebrating the growing popularity of "Open Streets" initiatives around the world, where cities temporarily shut down a street to motorized traffic so that people can enjoy it on foot and on bicycles.

Despite the start of Bicycle Sundays in Seattle in 1965, and the spread of similar Open Streets events across the country, DC has yet to really join the momentum. We've come close, but not quite, by closing Rock Creek Park's Beach Drive weekly to non-motorized recreational uses and with the annual "Feet in the Street" in Fort Dupont Park.

As Gil Peñalosa notes in the video, "When people are creating Ciclovías or Open Streets, there is always some resistance. And the better the city, the more resistance because sometimes it is more difficult to go from good to great than from bad to great." The time has come to take the District from good to great when it comes to sharing the streets; the time has come for our first "DCiclovía."

Jaime Fearer worked in the book industry for over 10 years before pursuing a graduate planning degree, and she is a community planner in Greenbelt, MD. When she first moved to NE DC, she ran stop, blog, and roll. Jaime now lives in Trinidad DC, where she serves on the neighborhood association’s board. 

Comments

How beautiful would it be if they closed 14th st NW Every Sunday?

But give us some credit does Eastern Market count? Or is it too small?

by Chris on Jan 12, 2014 11:27 am • linkreport

Something I've always wondered: why doesn't MPD shut down 18th Street in Adams Morgan on Friday and Saturday nights, say from Columbia down to Kalorama? I feel congesting everyone onto the sidewalk leads to more conflict than necessary, occasionally leading into full-on fights between people.

I recently spent a weekend in Austin, TX and they do this with their main strip of bars on 6th Street. It felt awesome to roam the main streets of downtown, hopping from bar to bar without fear of motor vehicles.

To me, this just seems like commonsense. Vehicular traffic slows to a crawl on that street anyway and there are no streets that run through 18th on that strip, plus the 90s and X3 can be rerouted for the night, so I really can't seem to think of any reason why not to do it. I'm guessing the Adams Morgan BID has considered it but has been shut down for whatever reason.

Can anyone fill me in on this?

by Gregory on Jan 13, 2014 3:41 pm • linkreport

The Montgomery County Council wants to increase nightlife in downtown Bethesda. Wouldn't it be great if they shut some main streets in Bethesda to cars on weekends and evenings?
We enjoy one (1) pedestrian street--Bethesda Row. Why not shut down Bethesda Avenue (where the Apple Street is) that adjoins Bethesda Row? People have been trying for years to make that happen. We're going to keep trying. 2014 is an election year!
Thanks for this article.

by Wendy, a Walker in Bethesda on Jan 13, 2014 4:55 pm • linkreport

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