Open Streets Detroit, the popular recreational event in its third year, will bring walking, biking, rollerblading, and more to main streets in Southwest Detroit and Corktown. A 3.5-mile route running through Michigan Avenue and West Vernor Highway will be closed to vehicular traffic from noon to 5pm on Sunday, October 7. Pedestrians are free to wander amongst a variety of retail and dining options on two of the city’s main thoroughfares.
The easternmost portion of the route starts at Beacon Park at First and Grand River in Downtown Detroit. Attendees can walk west on Michigan Avenue until Corktown’s Roosevelt Park, which sits in front of Michigan Central Station. From there, the route runs down West Vernor Highway through Southwest Detroit to Military Street.
According to their website, Open Streets Detroit works as “a collaborative effort led by public and non-profit partners, including: the Downtown Detroit Partnership, MoGo, City of Detroit, Michigan Department of Transportation, and several business and community organizations.” Open Streets will feature live music, exercise classes, ultimate frisbee, hip-hop and street dancing, hula hooping, kickboxing, yoga, tennis, and more activities to create a block party atmosphere across the 3.5 miles. The event is free, and restrooms and first aid booths will dot the route.
The program is expanding to other neighborhoods, with a Rouge Park event taking place this past August 11. Open Streets complements the growing non-motorized efforts in the city, including the MoGo bike system and expanding RiverWalk and greenways.
Open Streets credits the weekly Ciclovía event in Bogotá, Colombia, dating back to the mid-1970s, as the forefather of Detroit’s pedestrian-only event. The Columbian capital closes off 70 miles of streets for 2 million attendees a week. Over 200 cities worldwide have since created similar pedestrian-centric events on city streets.