What are Open Streets?
Open Streets programs are where streets are open to people and closed to cars so that the streets become “paved parks” where people can access safe, fun, and free recreation. When these events are held consistently throughout the year they encourage regular physical activity and are considered to be one of the best programs any city can initiate to improve access to recreational opportunities.
Open Streets programs exist globally and are held in large and small cities across North America. These initiatives focus on creating an environment where people of all ages, abilities, and social, economic, and ethnic backgrounds can experience their community in new and exciting ways. While these tremendously successful programs vary in every community, they share several common elements: a focus on physical activity, engagement of community groups, removal of financial barriers to participation and a celebration of space and community.
Bringing Open Streets to Thunder Bay will:
- Engage participants in physical activity which can have long term impacts on their health.
- Offer environmental benefits by temporarily removing cars from the road reducing greenhouse gases, noise and air pollution, especially if the program occurs on a regular basis.
- Offer new economic opportunities for many types of businesses situated along the Open Streets route.
- Build a stronger sense of community, cultural identity, and social engagement by increasing the amount of interaction that occurs between participants of all ages, incomes, occupations, religions, and races.
Open Streets offer a fun and innovative way for a community to achieve environmental, social, economic, and public health goals.