Open Streets Celebration Coming to Jamaica Plain This Weekend

Map showing the stretch of road closed off to cars during Jamaica Plain’s Open Street celebrations this Sunday from 9 a.m to 3 p.m. “Centre Street will be closed to traffic beginning at 7 a.m. from Jackson Square to Centre/South. Towing on Centre St. will begin at 1 a.m,” according to the City of Boston. Graphic courtesy of the City of Boston.
Map showing the stretch of road closed off to cars during Jamaica Plain’s Open Street celebrations this Sunday from 9 a.m to 3 p.m. “Centre Street will be closed to traffic beginning at 7 a.m. from Jackson Square to Centre/South. Towing on Centre St. will begin at 1 a.m,” according to the City of Boston. Courtesy of the City of Boston.

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.

Snapshot of the City of Boston’s website for their Open Streets Boston initiative of three events throughout the summer with the first one launching this Sunday in Jamaica Plain from Jackson Square to Centre/South Street.
Snapshot of the City of Boston’s new Open Streets website, www.openstreetsboston.org.

The City is also welcoming anyone who would like to volunteer and play a part in helping make these events a reality for their neighbors.

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.

If you’re unable to make it out this time, there will be two additional Open Streets you can visit later this summer:

  • 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.”

If you’re planning to attend, note that the MBTA recently scheduled track work on the Orange Line, and will suspend service between Ruggles and North Station during the day on Sunday, July 10 without substituting bus service. Orange Line trains will run between Forest Hills and Ruggles. The MBTA’s route 39 buses, which typically run along Sunday’s Open Streets route, will instead terminate at the Jackson Square Orange Line stop from 9 am to 3 pm on Sunday. Learn more about other changes to parking, crossing points, and bus routes here.

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