On Tuesday afternoon, Mayor Michelle Wu announced that the City of Boston will continue and expand its day-long “Open Streets” festivals this summer, and bring them to more neighborhoods throughout the city.
Last year's Open Streets series temporarily blocked car traffic to bring day-long festivals with outdoor activities and performances to neighborhood main streets in Dorchester, Roxbury, and Jamaica Plain.
"For six hours, in each of those locations, we closed certain roads to vehicular traffic and turned our neighborhood streets into places for people to cycle and skate, dance, create art, soak up the sun, and connect with one another," said Mayor Wu at a press conference this afternoon. "I still remember very vividly the sounds that happen when you take away the buzz and hum of car traffic and replace it with kids laughing."
The city will repeat open street events in those three neighborhoods this summer, and also bring new events to two additional neighborhoods: Allston and East Boston.
"For us, this is another excuse to celebrate the rich cultures of East Boston," said Veronica Robles of the Veronica Robles Cultural Center. "Closing the streets (to car traffic) without having to go through all the permitting process, it's something that we really want to take advantage of, and we would like to make sure that all the communities in our neighborhood find out about this, to come together so we can talk, love, dance, and create art together."
The Veronica Robles Cultural Center is planning to schedule its annual Día de los Muertos parade during the East Boston event, which is scheduled for Sunday, October 15.
The full schedule of events includes:
Sunday June 25: Centre Street in Jamaica Plain
Saturday July 15: Blue Hill Avenue in Roxbury
Saturday August 19: Harvard Ave. and Brighton Ave. in Allston
Sunday September 17: Dorchester Ave. in Dorchester
Sunday October 15: Meridian and Bennington Streets in East Boston
Mayor Wu also announced a major expansion in one of the city's longest-running open street events, Open Newbury, which will become a weekly event this summer.
"This year Open Newbury will take place every Sunday from July 2nd through October 15," said Mayor Wu. "That is 10 more events for residents and visitors to explore the 8-block, mile-long stretch of shops and restaurants, galleries and activities free from car traffic."
Open Newbury started as a one-day event in August 2016, then returned for three Sundays each summer from 2017 to 2019, and again in 2021 after a hiatus during the pandemic.
During her first year in office, Mayor Wu's administration expanded Open Newbury to 6 dates for the summer of 2022. This year's schedule will close Newbury Street to cars to let foot traffic take over the street on 16 Sundays.