I was able to get some of the philosophy behind the Open Streets event – which Jess and I love – from BikePgh’s communication manager, Ngani Ndimbie. I appreciate their taking the time to communicate with me in the lead-up to the event.
If you don’t know, Open Streets will close 1/2 mile of streets in downtown’s cultural district on the 2oth. This will allow foot traffic, bicyclists and other events to take over. If I understand correctly, there will also be a roller derby!
Bike Pittsburgh’s Vision
Residents, commuters, and visitors joyfully experience our unique topography and neighborhoods while navigating the city by bike and on foot. Well-designed bikeways and walkways will make riding a bike or walking easy, convenient and fun. Whenever possible the bikeways will be protected from streets and walkways to give people a strong sense of security and freedom. Pittsburgh’s transformation from a former industrial center into a vibrant, sustainable city is recognized internationally. Our embrace of an active and healthy lifestyle as reflected in Pittsburgh’s commitment to providing safe, world-class facilities for biking and walking, is and will remain a key component of this transformation.
How did you come up with the idea for the open streets event? Did anyone object to it?
The idea for hosting an Open Streets in Pittsburgh started about 3 years ago after a visit from Gil Penalosa. Gil’s passion for how cities can be active healthy places for people and the stories of similar events in Colombia inspired a small committee to form. The process was very challenging with so many factors, where, when, how to find funding. OpenStreetsPGH started taking shape when the committee approached local stakeholders about growing our small committee into a more robust partnership with The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, No Walls, The Office of the Mayor, BikePGH, Three Rivers Inline Club, Lawrenceville United, and Let’s Move Pittsburgh. An important part of the process was working with many community groups and businesses to include them in open streets and not simply go at the process from a top down approach.
Hope to see you there!