What are Open Streets?
Asbury Park ALIVE! is a part of an international open streets movement happening in many cities throughout the U.S., Canada, and around the world.
The first open streets initiative was called Ciclovía, or “bikeway” in Spanish. Ciclovía started in Bogotá, Colombia and now draws over 1.5 million people to walk, bike, skate and enjoy more than 70 miles of streets opened to people – and closed to automobile traffic – every Sunday. Founded in 1976, it started small and grew in the 1990’s under the mayor and the parks director, brothers Enrique and Guillermo Peñalosa. By 1996 it was recognized as the most important recreational activity in the country. The route was extended to 50 miles in 1997 and events to add appeal beyond biking were added.
Open Streets in North America
The ciclovía movement has a presence in the North America that dates back more than 25 years. Among the oldest initiatives, started in 1983, is Wayne County, Michigan’s “Saturday in the Park,” in which a six-mile stretch of the Edward Hines Parkway is closed to motorized traffic every Saturday from May through September. By the late 2000s, the concept had spread to a number of U.S. cities including Cleveland, Philadelphia, New York, and Portland, OR. Today, ciclovía-style events take place in over 30 communities around the U.S. and Canada.
Alliance for a Healthier Asbury Park
In 2016, the Alliance for a Healthier Asbury Park was formed with the vision of improving the health and well-being of Asbury Park residents through prevention, health education, active programs, policy and environmental change through funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the New Jersey Health Initiative. The mission of the Alliance is to prevent and reduce chronic disease and to reduce the barriers and conditions that prevent healthy living and thinking. In 2017, the Alliance collectively decided that launching an Open Streets program in Asbury Park would provide a great opportunity to promote healthy lifestyles and active living in the City and chose to make the Open Streets program a major initiative of the Alliance. Visit the Alliance's website here: https://www.njhi.org/projects/building-a-healthier-asbury-park.
It's not just about the bike.
The Open Streets movement is about so much more than biking. Open Streets are about getting communities active and changing the way people view their streets and neighborhoods. And the beautiful thing about Open Streets is they are for everyone--from young to old, from people on skateboards and rollerblades to people in wheelchairs.