Sunny skies and mild temperatures helped bring out thousands of participants to Boston's first Open Streets celebration of the year, along Centre Street in Jamaica Plain.
Without cars crowding the way, thousands of people – far more than the street typically carries – were able to walk and bike along Centre Street without fears for their safety.
Despite looking quite comfortable biking through the crowd, Kimberly and her two sons (pictured above) said they only biked because they knew this was a bike friendly event.
StreetsblogMASS asked her if they enjoyed biking here. "Yeah! It's fun, it was nice," she answered. "I mean, it's a little crowded to bike...I think it would've been helpful if there was like a designated bike lane so people aren't getting hit because you know, everybody is like zig zagging everywhere."
After her son's $400 bike from Bikes Not Bombs was stolen off their porch last year, Kimberly says they now have a Bluebikes monthly pass and will consider getting the yearly one to avoid the hassle of maintenance and repairs.
Several local elected officials were enjoying themselves, and some took the time to extol the benefits of car-free streets:
There were also numerous activities in the street, including a family play area, live music, chess games, food trucks, and public yoga classes. The Boston Cyclists Union set up a bike lane along two blocks of Centre Street to show different ways space on the street could be used. According to their brief survey, participants shared they'd like to see more Open Streets in different parts of the city including Washington Street from JP to Chinatown and Harvard Street in Brookline.
Subir Roy, a chess game lover, came from Burlington to take part in the day's festivities and play some matches put on by the JP Chess Club.
"I won the first one, second one I came second!" he said proudly.
We asked him what he thought about the Open Streets event overall. "This is awesome, seriously. This is awesome. It might be a little bit of an inconvenience for people who drive and want to park, but I think it's a great opportunity for the local businesses," he said.
The city will host at least two more Open Streets celebrations this summer; the next one will be in the Grove Hall neighborhood, on Blue Hill Avenue between Dudley and Warren Streets, on Saturday, August 6. Learn more or sign up for updates at www.openstreetsboston.org.
Note: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated the Boston Cyclists Union set up a mobile bike repair shop along the route- we have since made a correction. Thanks for reading!