Tuesday, August 16, 2011

What's the Idea Behind SomerStreets?

Somerville may be the most wicked, awesome 4.1 square miles in New England, but we're also the most densely populated city in the region as well. So green space is at a premium. SomerStreets is just one way that we're working to provide residents room to move around outside. We close the roads to cars and open them to residents to ride, run, walk, stroll or skate on. We think of them as one-day parks. And then, to increase the draw, we add arts and entertainment along the route.

So, yes, each SomerStreets is a fun festival to take part in. But we're also hoping to promote active, healthy living at the same time. In recent years, a significant shift has occurred in the thinking on how to promote active lifestyles. Rather than telling the public what they should and shouldn't do to be healthy, some cities are changing their infrastructure and area offerings instead to make being active and healthy easier for residents.

Shape Up Somerville has gained national recognition for taking this very approach. How do they do it?Making sure fresh produce is easily available at stores and farmers markets is just one way a city can make eating healthy easy for residents. Ensuring residents can use walkways, safe crosswalks and bike lanes makes it more convenient for residents to be active. Maintaining and providing public parks also encourages activity.

In Somerville, we're doing all these things--and, just for fun, we also close down streets five times a year to give residents five more reasons to get outside and moving. So please join us as the final three 2011 Somerstreets:

SomerStreets "Going Green on Route 16"
Sunday, August 21, 2011 noon-4pm, Rt. 16 (Dilboy Field to Broadway)

SomerStreets "Rolling on the Mystic"
Saturday, Sept. 10, 2011 noon-4pm Shore Drive (Blessing of the Bay Boat House)

SomerStreets "Harvest Fest/Halloween"
Sunday, Oct, 23, 2011 noon-4 pm Somerville Ave. (Washington St. to Beacon St.)

1 comment:

  1. This is a wonderful and long overdue enhancement to city life and active transportation/recreation. It is sad that so much space is reserved for cars despite all of the problems they cause, yet the rest of us only get a few hours a year to use them.

    I hope the city supports and expands this program so that these "parkways" can eventually be turned over to people permanently.


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