Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

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Westside

August 6, 2013

Event to bring festival atmosphere to Indy streets

INDIANAPOLIS — It’s all the rage in Latin America and becoming huge in the United States and Canada. Now, the phenomenon known in Spanish as “Ciclovía” is coming to Indianapolis on the afternoon of Sept. 29.

With “Open Streets Indy,” Westfield Boulevard will be closed to motorized traffic west of College Avenue from Broadway Avenue to 53rd Street. Organizers predict blocks full of active fun as area residents and visitors fill the streets to walk, bike, dance, socialize, and more.

“They’re usually called ‘Open Streets’ events in the U.S.,” said Megan Treida, who is organizing the event on behalf of the American College of Sports Medicine and other local partners. “Inevitably, closing the streets to cars brings out folks to enjoy their city or their neighborhood in whole new ways. People can stroll and mingle, check out shops they may not have noticed, or maybe play music and dance. It’s a celebration with multiple benefits.”

Those benefits, said Treida, include reduced environmental impacts from carbon emissions, improved public health as people enjoy physical activity, and an economic boost for shop owners and vendors along the route.

“In many cities, Open Streets events or Ciclovías are so popular they’re held every Sunday,” said Treida. “We’re excited about Indy’s first Open Streets. Who knows? Maybe we’ll see them planned for other neighborhoods once people experience the first one this September.”

Businesses and organizations are encouraged to participate in Open Streets Indy. There are opportunities for children’s activities, as well as Zumba, yoga, or other health activities; informational displays; performances; vendors; and more. Those interested may visit the website www.openstreetsindy.org. The organization is also seeking volunteers and sponsorships.

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