The City of Boston will host its first Open Streets celebration this Sunday by converting Centre Street in Jamaica Plain into a public space for adults and kids to play, shop, and enjoy their community without having to worry whether a car is approaching.
As part of outreach efforts, the City has launched a colorful website specifically to promote the project and where folks can subscribe to stay updated, see maps with the event locations, and even see a countdown until the next Open Streets.
In a press event steps away from the Jackson Square station in Jamaica Plain on Thursday, Chief of Streets Jascha Franklin-Hodge told reporters that “this is really an event for neighbors, not just here in Boston, not just here in JP, but all over the city. It's very much a family oriented event and we’re going to have a lot of interesting things set up along the route for people.”
Here is a glimpse of some of these special activities planned:
Mozart Park: A family play area, music, face painting, games, and other kinds of family activities
Mary E. Curley School: more live music and food trucks
Lorraine Greenough House: yet more music, yoga and activities on the lawn
Neighbors will have 1.4 miles of street all to themselves from 9 a.m to 3 p.m. to use for walking, biking, rolling, shopping, or, as Boston’s Chief of Streets Jascha Franklin-Hodge put it, “for any kind of car free recreation you want.” He added, “it’s really just a way to bring people out and to give people a little bit of a new perspective on a street.”
With part of the street closed to cars, the City hopes to give families more peace of mind and give children more space to play.
“I’m a parent of small kids and it can be really nerve-wracking if they're riding a bike on a narrow sidewalk with lots of traffic around. It's also a space where people can be active and not have to worry about traffic and all the things that come with it,” shared Franklin-Hodge.
Blue Hill Avenue: August 6, Dudley Street to Warren Street
Dorchester Avenue: September 24, Freeport Street to Gallivan Boulevard
StreetsblogMASS asked if there was a chance this could become an annual event or even expand.
“This is the first time we’ve done an Open Streets event this big so we really want to make sure we get it right,” answered Franklin-Hodge. “There are going to be some things that we learn so before we start looking at future years, we really want to make sure this year is a success, but I think we would be incredibly excited to see events like this happen and expand in future years and maybe into neighborhoods that don't have an event this year.”