SundayStreetsHTx will open White Oak, Westheimer and Washington/Market Square to bicyclists and pedestrians on the first Sundays in April, May and June 2014, respectively. The streets will be open from 11 am – 3 pm.
Open Streets are multi-faceted programs that promote the use of public streets for recreation and physical activity. Open Streets originated in Bogota, Colombia, over 30 years ago, and have been rapidly spreading to other regions of the world with the largest expansion in the United States. It is estimated there are over 200 large-scale Open Streets initiatives worldwide, with 90 in the U.S., including San Antonio, Salt Lake City, St. Louis, Portland, San Francisco, New York City and Los Angeles.
“SundayStreetsHTX is an opportunity for families and neighbors to be outside and celebrate the streets of Houston,” said Mayor Annise Parker. “This pilot initiative meets many of the goals of my Go Healthy Houston program, encouraging more recreation and physical activity in Houston, in a family friendly environment.”
Opening streets to pedestrians, bicyclists and families encourages communities to be physically active and to consider using alternative transportation options in the future. Many Houstonians use city streets every day, either in a personal vehicle or via public transportation. But SundayStreetsHTX will help people see the city at a different speed and from a different perspective.SundayStreetsHTX will not only provide a fun and safe environment for physical activity, but may build community bonds that occur thanks to positive experiences provided at each event.
“The pilot SundayStreetsHTX initiative will provide Houstonians with an actual opportunity to be physically active on the day of the events,” said Dr. Faith Foreman, Chair, Go Healthy Houston Task Force. “More than that, SundayStreetsHTX will encourage regular physical activity as participants realize the many destinations that can be reached by foot or bike and that being outdoors in Houston can be fun for their entire family.”
Other cities have found great success with their open streets programs. In St. Louis, the City commissioned a study to evaluate their program: 73% of participants spent money at businesses along the route and 56% learned about a new restaurant. In addition, 89 percent of participants indicated that their open streets program positively changed their feelings about St. Louis.
Schedule for City of Houston SundayStreetsHTX Pilot Program (11 am – 3 pm):
Sunday, April 6: White Oak from Heights to Fulton
Sunday, May 4: Westheimer from Yoakum to Hazard
Sunday, June 1: Washington from Studemont to Milam, at Market Square
For more information, follow SundayStreetsHTX:
Facebook: Sunday Streets HTX (www.facebook.com/sundaystreetshtx)
Instagram: SundayStreetsHTX (www.instagram.com/sundaystreetshtx)