Open Streets Program
Open Streets Program aims at transforming underutilized streets, alleys, and parking areas that are car dominated into vibrant public spaces using accessible design principles.
Our first pilot project for the Open Streets Program started last year with support from the 2018 AARP Livable Communities Challenge. The project is a large-scale parklet project that extends over six on-street parking spaces and a travel lane. The street is now used as a major public space for downtown events for music, performance artists, and food trucks. During lunch the space is used by two restaurants and in the evenings residents of the Plaza building often use it as their outdoor space. Plaza building residents are an older adult population and we have spoken with them extensively on how this project has improved their interaction with the outdoor environment.
After the installation of the parklet various events started to "pop-up" on the street, activating Congress St. between lunch-time and after hours. These events are organized by community groups or non-profit organizations interested in making downtown more of a destination with a keen interest in catalyzing economic development and walk-ability.