What happens when you close a street to cars and open it to people?
On Sunday, the city of Akron will be hosting an “Open Streets Akron” event where a stretch of about 4 1/2 miles from Kenmore to Firestone Park will be closed to vehicle traffic, but opened to those who want to experience the city in another way.
“Open streets temporarily closes streets to automobile traffic, so that people may use them for walking, biking, dancing, play, and social space to meet neighbors,” said Kyle Kutuchief, Akron program director with the Knight Foundation.
The city will open streets connecting the Firestone Park, Kenmore and Summit Lake community centers to allow residents to bike, run and walk along the street. The route will include Kenmore Boulevard, the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail, Wilbeth Road, and South Firestone Boulevard. Pop-up activities will be placed along the route.
“For one day only, Open Streets Akron will transform our roadways into a paved playground to create neighborhood-level engagement and encourage healthy lifestyle choices,” said Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan in a news release.
The event is free and open to the public on June 25 from noon to 5:00 p.m.
“The event will allow people to experience how safe and fun their neighborhood can be when they don’t have to worry about speeding cars,” Kutuchief said. “It will help neighborhood leaders and city planners advocate for simple changes to make our city more friendly for pedestrians and cyclists.”