Does it feel like summer is approaching? Well, I can't think of a better way to start the season than Summer Parkways, which kicks off on Friday, June 22nd from 6-9pm in the Comstock Neighborhood. The idea is based off ciclovías – Spanish for “cycle way” or “bike path”- an event in Bogotá where 70 miles of streets close for automobiles and open for people powered transit on Sundays from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.
In case you missed it last year, Summer Parkways involves the closure of Spokane streets to vehicular traffic for a portion of a day in favor of walking, bicycling, rolling, and other non-motorized forms of transportation. It connects neighborhoods and people: walkers, runners, bikers, seniors, adults, and children can enjoy car-free streets filled with a variety of activities along the route. And it's all free. It's a bit different from the first go-around in 2010, by expanding it to include three different neighborhoods, including the first night-time event:
Wednesday, June 22, 6-9 PM- Comstock/Manito Neighborhood (map)
Sunday, July 24, 10AM-2PM- North Hill Neighborhood (map)
Sunday, August 14, 10 AM-2PM- Northwest Neighborhood (map)
Organizers attended Neighborhood Council meetings and went door-to-door to let residents know of the street closure and were greeted with enthusiasm. It looks like Summer Parkways is on its way to becoming a more permanent fixture in Spokane. Even though we can’t conceivably close more than 70 miles of streets, how far have we come that we are modeling an event after Bogotá’s attempts at a post-automobile city?
Will our urban planners take note?