Imagine it: every Sunday 75 miles of streets closed to cars in one of the largest cities in Latin America. Seventy-five miles of car-free streets have opened up to people for biking, walking, running, skating, fitness classes and recreation.
CiclovIa in Bogota, Colombia dates back to the 1970s and inspired a global movement that challenges us to reframe our way of thinking about one of our greatest public spaces: the street. The hugely successful event attracts a quarter of the city’s 7 million residents each week and is the ultimate example of an open street event emulated by communities large and small around the world.
From Atlanta to Toronto to San Francisco, open streets programs are now part of the fabric of some of our favorite cities. This past year, COVID-19 closures and social distancing have increased the value of streets to people, but shifted the focus from bringing people together at events to creating permanent slow streets for outdoor recreation. look safe and socially remote.
Here in Missoula, Sunday Streets has been fueling the busy streets since 2010 and has quickly become one of Missoula’s most beloved community events. Missoula In Motion, an agency dedicated to increasing the use of sustainable transportation, hosts Sunday Streets Missoula and emphasizes the event’s ability to influence our travel behavior.
With this in mind, local programs showcased pedestrian and cycling infrastructure, organized a âBike-a-paloozaâ group hike and supported a âOne Less Car Dayâ commitment. In addition to highlighting our city’s ability to walk and cycle, Sunday Streets also focuses on promoting health and wellness, supporting local businesses, and activating public space.
Regardless of its popularity and success in bringing people of all ages and abilities together for a fun and active afternoon, Sunday Streets Missoula continues to progress to the status of ‘healthiest Open Street practice’: The Stallion -or for open street events.
Research indicates that open streets programs that take place on a regular basis and cover between 3 and 5 miles per event can have a significant impact on the health of the community. Providing citizens with the regular opportunity to cycle or walk in a safe and low-stress environment and to have access to free organized physical activity helps people to permanently adopt new healthy behaviors.
Missoula In Motion is looking to build on the momentum of Sunday Streets to eventually deliver more frequent events with longer routes. Serving more neighborhoods opens up the possibility of showcasing Missoula’s extensive neighborhood greenway network that connects residents to local businesses and community services. Monthly events, if only during the summer months, would help create a culture of health within our community not only through free physical activities, but also by helping participants integrate transportation. active in their habits.
This year’s Sunday Streets event is heading in the right direction with the very first loop route through one of Missoula’s largest and most diverse neighborhoods. Franklin to the Fort open street August 8e will cover 1 mile of car-free streets highlighting a neighborhood greenway and a handful of new traffic calming facilities along Kemp and Schilling streets. streets for all users, improving mobility for all.
Made possible by the City’s Neighborhood Traffic Management program, these new facilities aim to reduce vehicle speeds, shorten cross-distances for pedestrians and ultimately discourage vehicles from using the streets of the neighborhood as passageways.
An active group of neighborhood advocates who call themselves “Neighbors in Action” are a driving force behind the event and recent traffic calming efforts. Member Jennie Vader notes, âWhen we work together and talk to each other on the streets, we make connections that give meaning to a neighborhood.
With the help of volunteers and event participants, Neighbors in Action beautify two roundabouts in the open streets on Sunday. Everyone is welcome to help fill the newly constructed flower boxes on Schilling Street or to contribute to a mural at the intersection of 12e and Kemp.
Other highlights include food trucks, fitness classes in Franklin Park, and over 35 local organizations running activities ranging from giant jenga to fencing and everything in between. There will be some for everyone !
For more information on Sunday Streets Missoula and how you can get involved with the open streets movement, visit SundayStreetsMissoula.org.
Katherine Auge is the Transportation Demand Management Program Manager for Missoula in Motion. This sustainable Missoula Chronicle is brought to you – via the Missoula Current – every week by Climate smart missoula and Home ReSource.
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Missoula Farmers Markets. Eat local now until early fall! The original Farmers Market at the north end of Higgins takes place every Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. – info here. The Clark Fork Market is now located at 101 Carousel Drive near Dragon Hollow, runs every Saturday 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. – information is here.
Sunday Streets – August 8. This annual celebration of Missoula’s open streets is back – this time hosted by the Franklin to the Fort neighborhood! Walk, cycle or take the bus! Noon – 3 p.m. Details here.
Western Montana Fair – August 11-14. Volunteer for the Show’s Zero Waste team! Help with setting up and maintaining zero waste stations. More information and registration here. During your stay at the Fair, consult the Creative Reuse Division!
Tour Bike to Barns – Aug 14-Sep. 30. Explore the local farms and flavors on a 15-mile bike tour through the Orchard Homes and Target Range neighborhoods of Missoula. Check again here for more information.
Fixit Clinic – August 21, 11 am-3pm. Save the date of the next Fixit clinics, hosted by Home ReSource! Bring your broken items and work with qualified repair coaches to learn how to fix them. More information and registrations here.
River City Roots – August 27-28. Get involved in River City Roots’ sustainability efforts! Volunteers are needed to sort waste, recycling and compost, and to help out the bicycle valet. To verify this page for more information and registration.
Spontaneous construction – September 18. Missoula’s Creative Reinvention Festival! Reuse. Compete. To create. Enjoy! More info and team registration here.
Missoula’s Third Annual Clean Energy Expo – September 25. Climate Smart Missoula and the Montana Renewable Energy Association are back to host this premier event at Caras Park. Save this date.
Material donations to Home Resource turns the wheels of reuse in our community; and remember that all you need to know about what to do with your unwanted items is below. www.zerobyfiftymissoula.com.
Find more local activities and events on Missoulaevents.net and the Montana Environmental Information Center Retention schedule. And you too can help organize events – here is the 2021 Calendar of Environmental Awareness Days – month-by-month distribution of World Day campaigns.