Open Streets originated in Bogotá, Colombia in the 1970s and really took off in the 1990s. These events started as a way to close city streets to motor traffic and let people on bikes ride with increased freedom, and evolved into community celebrations that include people moving in any way that is non-motorized—walking, jogging, rollerblading, skateboarding, dancing—and often include classes, booths, food, and activities for kids and adults of all ages. Learn more at peopleforbikes.org.
When we experience our streets without any cars, it shifts our thinking about how those streets could be used. Public seating area? Pedestrian plaza? Roomy bikeway? Arts studio? Learn more at 880Cities.org.
Open Streets Asheville’s Backstory
The City of Asheville in its 2015 Asheville in Motion Plan suggested a trial of open streets events. After years of discussion among city visionaries and advocates for community health and active transportation, planning began in 2015 for the inaugural event with leadership and partial funding organized by the Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC). In 2016, Open Streets Asheville held its first mid-September, Sunday afternoon event. Feedback from 2016 attendees, street partners, and sponsors was overwhelmingly positive. Respondents asked us to go bigger & better in 2017!
Open Street Asheville’s Goals
We are building a future in which our streets support active transportation, nurture community, and respond to Asheville’s expressed needs for a happier, healthier Asheville. Our movement established the first 2 goals for 2016, adding a third before the 2017 event:
- Build Health & Wellness
- Build Community Connections
- Inspire Advocacy for Asheville’s Future
(Newly inspired by the fun of open streets, planners wondered what can cooperative groups of individuals, governmental entities and nonprofits achieve for Asheville? Might the cooperative spirit arising from our events empower Asheville in other areas, too? These thoughts encouraged us to add the third goal shown above.)
Intrigued? Learn more about getting involved as a sponsor, street partner or participant using the contact form below.
Open Streets Asheville 2016 Videos
Watch our video wrap-up of Open Streets Asheville 2016!
We partner with organizations committed to long-term change, and we are working toward hosting regular events throughout the year. If you share our vision, join us.
2016 Inaugural Year Planning Sponsors
Your Organization Here?
WNC Bike Dealers
GO Mountain Commuting
Suzanne Molloy KW
City of Asheville
Buncombe County, NC
Asheville on Bikes
Active Routes to School
Land of Sky
(Finally, here's a great primer on the overall success of Open Streets programs.)