Temporary streets closures, such as play streets, block parties, street fairs, and open streets, demonstrate the range and diversity of ways in which a city's streets may be utilized. Whether done as a precursor to a future project or as a seasonal or weekly event, temporary closures can activate the street and showcase participating businesses and communities.
Depending on a street's usage and characteristics, temporary street closures can take multiple forms, ranging from an emphasis on active recreation, biking, or exercise to business activity, food, or arts.
Temporary street closures may be aligned with a city's larger public health goals and encourage residents to take advantage of parkways and boulevards as recreational amenities.
Temporary street closures restrict a street to pedestrians, and in some cases bicyclists, rollerbladers, and skateboarders at specific times of day, specific days of the week or during the year, or for certain seasons. While many streets are periodically closed to traffic for special events, temporary street closures refer to streets with a regularly scheduled closing, such as a pedestrian street, play street, or farmers market.
Temporary street closures are often applied in the following scenarios:
Pedestrian & Transit Malls Study (Memphis: Center City Commission, 2008).
Measuring the Street: New Metrics for 21st Century Streets (New York: New York City Department of Transportation, 2012).
Felipe Montes et al., “Do Health Benefits Outweigh the Costs of Mass Recreational Programs? An Economic Analysis of Four CicLAvia Programs,” Journal of Urban Health: Bulletin of the New York City Academy of Medicine, 89:1 (2011).
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, “Blue Cross expands 'Open Streets' events to seven Minnesota communities in 2012.”
The Open Streets Guide (New York: Street Plans and Alliance for Biking & Walking, 2012).
Adapted from the Urban Street Design Guide, published by Island Press.