In Spanish-speaking countries, they’re known as Ciclovias. In most cities across America, they’re called Open Streets. Either way, they’re events that close city streets to vehicles so people can fill the streets to walk, bike, dance, socialize, and play.
Now Indianapolis is joining the fun. The inaugural Open Streets Indy is noon to 5 p.m. Sept. 29 on Westfield Boulevard between College Avenue and 53rd Street. The free family event features an afternoon of fun where participants can enjoy themselves and explore their city from a new perspective.
Activities along the 1.8 mile-route will include fitness classes, group dances, chalk art, games, music, food trucks, and children’s activities and contests.
In addition, there are several activity hubs. The Rivera Club will host a one-mile fun run, tennis games, shuffleboard, pickleball, live music, and food and drink for purchase. Alice Carter Place Park at Westfield Boulevard and Meridian Street will feature free children’s activities and prizes, including a bounce house. The Chase Bank parking lot at 56th and Illinois streets will feature bicycling activities with bike decorating and a bike bucket workshop.
“Open Streets Indy is a community event that provides an opportunity for physical activity in a fun, safe environment,” said Megan Treida, who is organizing the event on behalf of the American College of Sports Medicine. “Bring your bike or your dancing shoes and check it out.”
The first Ciclovia is said to have taken place in Bogata, Columbia, in the 1970s. Several Latin American cities now block off streets every Sunday and on holidays for the exclusive use of runners, skaters, and bicyclists. At the same time, aerobics instructors, yoga teachers, and musicians lead people in various dances and routines. Bogota’s weekly Ciclovias are attended by about 2 million people. Today more than 90 North American cities have hosted Open Streets events.