What is Open Streets?
Bend Open Streets is a part of a much larger open streets movement, which has taken place in many cities in the U.S., Canada, and around the world. 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. Today, there are more than 100 Open Streets initiatives in the United States and Canada.
Bend Open Streets catalyze vibrant public spaces, active transportation, and good health by opening the city’s largest public space—its streets—for people to walk, bike and roll to discover active transportation in a safe, car-free environment.
It is not about closing streets to cars – Open Streets is about opening streets and connecting neighborhoods: people riding bicycles, walking, running, seniors, adults, and children, all enjoying healthy physical activities right in their own neighborhoods. It shows off Bend’s active transportation designs to engage and increase effective, efficient, and equitable transportation in our community. Open Streets broadens transportation choices with ongoing municipal and organizational effort to promote and extend the myriad benefits associated with active transportation.
Open Streets is modeled after Bogotá, Colombia’s Ciclovías held every Sunday on 70 miles of streets. The long-term transportation, health and community benefits can’t be overstated. When people discover just how much fun it is to walk, bike, roll, skate, and stroll (again) and how easy it is be physically active during Open Streets, they are choosing to experience “Open Streets Every Day” – walking to the store, riding with their families, playing in the parks – incorporating physical activity into their everyday lives.
The 4 objectives of Bend Open Streets are to promote: Active Transportation, Community Health, Public Space, and Local Businesses.
What is the effect on business?
More foot traffic from neighborhoods that surround your business. Open Streets events around the country give area residents to opportunity to discover how walkable and bike-able quality businesses are to where they live. Studies from Portland State University have found that those who bike and walk to stores spend less on average but frequent areas stores more often resulting in more business to retailers.
What is the effect on traffic?
On the day of the event, traffic control attendants will help residents who live on the route as well as those who want to visit the route access homes and local business. The event was purposefully scheduled outside the busy summer season and in the middle of a weekend day to minimize impacts for those who do not wish to participate.
Additionally, there will be “soft closures” with cross traffic allowed at some intersections along the route and auto access for residents and businesses located with the closed route. This type of closure has worked very well in other cities around the world. Traffic will be monitored and future events will reflect any needed changes.
Who gets to participate?
The event isn’t limited to a certain group of Bend residents. It’s meant introduce folks to an alternative way of enjoying the largest public space we have in Bend. Everyone is welcome.
Who does it impact?
Businesses on the route will see a positive bottom line impact as more area residents are exposed to their goods and services. From a health perspective, we hope the event opens residents’ eyes to the world of beneficial exercise they can enjoy by walking or biking to the run errands in their neighborhood. Our vision would be to expand Bend Open Streets to take place in a rotating schedule of locations to maximize exposure for a majority of residents.
Where has this been done before?
The idea for open streets actually started in the late 1960’s in cities such as Seattle. The idea of Open Street came to global prominece through the work in Bogotá, Colombia’s where ‘Ciclovías’ are held every Sunday on 70 miles of streets. Domestically, cities from coast to coast (NYC to San Francisco and lots of points in between) are carving out time each year to encourage their residents to enjoy the largest public space available to a city – it’s streets – outside the confines of a car.
FAQ for Activity Partners
What kinds of activities do partners provide?
The best activities are those that creatively represent your business or organization, while involving event participants. For example, a gym might host workouts or fitness challenges. A dance group could give short lessons. A clothing store may put on a fashion show. Sometimes activity partners are just individuals who want to share their passion for an activity, such as slacklining or hula hooping.
Can my nonprofit table at Bend Open Streets?
There are lots of great organizations doing good work in Central Oregon, and we invite them to come to Bend Open Streets to share what they do. However, we discourage organizations from simply giving out print materials during the event. Instead, please set up a fun activity. This will bring more people to your table, and help keep Bend Open Streets an active, environmentally-friendly event.
How should a business on route engage?
As a business owner, you are encouraged to open your doors to business as usual during the event. Due to increased foot traffic and visibility, businesses may expect to have increased transactions. You can keep doing what you have, but an even more successful approach is to set up an activity in front of your store to bring in event participants! Please contact us with any concerns you may have about the event.
Is there a vendor application for the event?
The emphasis of Bend Open Streets is activity, and activity partners are discouraged from selling goods or providing paid services along the route. Support for local businesses is the main priority of Bend Open Streets. If you are a vendor, you may take this opportunity to set up a fun activity and make contacts. But please do not vend. Please note: businesses that are located on the route are allowed to sell as usual.
Will you provide power?
Unfortunately we are unable to provide power to activity partners. If your activity requires electricity we encourage you to reach out to businesses along the route ahead of time to see if you will be able to use their power. If your activity needs to be set up near a specific business because you already have the business owner’s permission to use their power, please note it in the application.
Where will water and restrooms be located?
Port-a-potties and water stations are spread out along the event.
Where can I park?
You may park on streets where parking is allowed outside of the route, but be mindful of all “No Parking” and “Residents Only” signs. Please avoid parking inside the route to be courteous of the residents who already have limited parking.
Can I set up in a park near my activity location?
Our permit does not allow activities to set up in parks. Of course, attendees are more than welcome to hang out/eat/play in any nearby parks just like any other day.