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Will Detroit Adopt Open Streets?

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The program aims to encourage healthy community activities

Imagine the streets filled with pedestrians and cyclists
Michelle & Chris Gerard

On two Sundays this fall, Detroiters might see Michigan Avenue and Vernor Highway, from Campus Martius through Corktown and Mexicantown, closed to traffic. According to the Detroit News, organizers for Open Streets are trying to get permits from the city to make it a temporary pedestrian and bike only zone.

The dates would be September 25 and October 2, noon to 5pm. The Lions are out of town those two dates, but the Tigers are playing at home on the 25th, which could add some difficulty to these plans, since so many fans park in Corktown.

According to their site, "Open Streets initiatives temporarily close streets to automobile so that people may use them for healthy and fun physical activities like walking, jogging, biking and dancing."

The initiatives also:

"Encourage physical activity and allow participants to reimagine their communities as places to walk and bike for transportation

Improve the air quality of cities by removing cars from the road

Provide a novel type of public space that helps people meet and make social connections, thereby allowing individuals, community organizations, and political leaders to build relationships

Bring thousands of people to frequent businesses and fuel local economies."

Open Streets has been a big program all over the country, mainly on the west coast and many cities on the east coast. The Downtown Detroit Partnership is leading the initiative in the city.

If successful, the city could look for other streets to temporarily close to encourage healthy activities.

What streets do you think could work in the city for this kind of initiative?