Open Streets gets positive reception at open house

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The Windsor Star/Chris Thompson

Open Streets Windsor, the street festival that will stretch along eight kilometres of roads across the city, got a positive reception at its first open house Wednesday.

“Compared to the other open houses I have attended, this has been a pretty good turnout,” said Dustin Carey, the city’s environmental and sustainability co-ordinator.

The open house took place in the lobby of the Windsor Aquatic Centre.

Carey said several groups involved in fitness and health promotion have expressed interest in participating.

“There’s a lot of excitement,” said Carey. “It’s been totally positive, people looking forward to it, different groups wondering how they can contribute.”

Designated streets will be closed to traffic to allow people to walk, run or cycle and there will be city-sponsored activities.

“Once we’ve had enough groups express interest we’re going to piece together what groups might be effective partnerships together, the best way to kind of distribute out the different groups that are going to participate, advertising it more on Facebook and the city website and the like.”

There could be karate classes, yoga and zumba.

The events are scheduled for two Sundays, July 17 and Sept. 18 and will run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on both days.

In the west end the current plan is to have Sandwich Street closed from Brock Street to Detroit Street, then Detroit Street closed to Alexander Avenue and then Rosedale Avenue closed to University Avenue.

University will be closed all the way to Aylmer Avenue, then Aylmer will be closed to Wyandotte Street East.

Wyandotte will be closed to Albert Road, and then Edna Street closes to Drouillard Road, and Drouillard will be closed to Richmond Street.

There will be eight so-called hubs along the way, focusing on things such as the environment, alternative transportation, and individual neighbourhoods such as Walkerville and Ford City.

“I like it,” said Ben Kennedy, who attended the open house.

“It’s bold, it’s big and it puts together all different communities and parts of Windsor into one street.”

He believes the event will help bring the different parts of the city together.

“What I’ve found is certain parts like Walkerville will have its Walkerville thing. Sandwich Towne will have its Sandwich Towne thing and downtown will have its downtown thing,” said Kennedy.

“Whereas this combines them all and makes it good. I think it’ll be good for Windsor and get people to come to Windsor.”

The Open Streets concept takes place in more than 100 cities in North America, including Ottawa, Toronto, Hamilton and Winnipeg.

The city is spending $55,000 on the projects to cover policing, emergency services, logistics and marketing.

The goals of the event stated on the city website are to encourage active transportation and physical activity, encourage community building activities, promote community-led active living initiatives and showcase recently improved streetscapes. It also provides an opportunity for local businesses and organizations to participate along the route.

The city is seeking several volunteers to help out with the event and application forms are available on the city website.