Tuesday, May 8, 2012

SomerStreets: Why Stretch a Festival Down a Whole Street?

SomerStreets events are more than just fun street festivals. Each one is designed to make it easy for everyone to get outside and moving. By closing the roads to cars and opening them to you, we're hoping to make it an active, healthy day for you and your friends or whole family. We spread events along the closed roadway so you can stroll, bike, skate or jog between entertainments. Or you can just come to make use of the open road and bike or skate in a car-free area all you want. 

Why do this? In recent years, a significant shift has occurred in the thinking on how to promote active lifestyles. Rather than using the old model of simply telling people that being active is good for health and well-being, cities like Somerville are changing their infrastructure and offerings instead to make being active and healthy easier for residents. We build better crosswalks to promote walking. We add bike lanes to promote cycling. We build and improve our parks to provide space for outdoor activities from baseball to gardening. SomerStreets is just one more piece of this overall effort to make the best, active use of our 4.1-mile-square city.   

SomerStreets builds on the Shape Up Somerville healthy living initiative. Special attention this year is being paid to providing fresh food at SomerStreets.

Please join us as at all four 2012 SomerStreets events:

All SomerStreets events take place from noon to 4 p.m. rain or shine. Next up it's:

  • Sunday, August 19, noon-4 p.m.:                                                                                           Going Green on Rte. 16                                                                                                        Alewife Brook Parkway from Dilboy Field to Broadway
    • Live music and entertainment 
    • Free swimming at the Dilboy Pool
    • Soccer with the Boston Breakers
    • Curious Creatures exhibition (2-4 p.m.)
    • Arts and crafts fair
    • Chalk art
    • Family friendly and recreation activities
  • Sunday, October 28, noon-4 p.m.:                                                                                   Octoberfest                                                                                                                                 Somerville Ave. from Union Square to Porter Square
  • Please note, the September SomerStreets event previously scheduled for Sept. 9 on Shore Drive has been CANCELED due to ongoing construction.

Past 2012 SomerStreets events included:
  • Sunday, June 3, noon-4 p.m.:                                                                                            Carnaval                                                                                                                            Broadway from Temple St. to Pennsylvania Ave. 
    • Summer is coming and we're bringing CARNAVAL to the Somerville Streets! Walk, run, dance, bike or skate down to Broadway in Somerville to get your groove on at the only multicultural loco-motion fest. This event is brought to you by the City of Somerville, East Somerville Main Streets and FossFest. 
      • Music and entertainment on three stages, local ethnic foods, circus antics, Farmers Market, drum circle, kid's activities, SomerPeople Multicultural Party and more. 
    • PARADE  
      • Join the Motion Parade led by Mayor Curtatone at 12 noon 
      • Boston Derby Dames, Brazilian Martial Arts Center, Boston Militia, Somerville Cross Fit, Miss Stange, Rijah Newell and Trash Into Art, Etnia Fusion, Vegetable Circus, Casa Salvador, Loma Larga, Carnival San Migue, Michiko Kurata, Behind the Mask Studio and Theater, Laura Blake, Dagen Julty
      • Craft Fair! Drum Circle! Kids Activities! Great food choices!
  • Sunday, July 29, noon-4 p.m.:                                                                                                 Seize the Summer                                                                                                                Highland Ave. from the Walnut St. to Cedar St.
    • Kidical Bike Parade to Davis Square: 1:00 pm meet at School Street
    • Youth Band Showcase at the Armory
    • Health and Fitness activates at Somerville Hospital
    • Arts and Crafts Vendors
    • Food, Music and Entertainment
    • Flying Word Fair at the Library
    • Free Family Friendly  Activities


  1. Okay----a festival as described, but three of them tieing up streets for residents and through traffic????----Plus, the multitude of road race events in Somerville, too many in my opinion, depriving motorists resident parking and impacting through traffic----not to mention the bus route deviations (for some people, it's a work-day depending on catching a bus where normally exists a bus stop) and negative impact on some local businesses. much too many events in a congested city as Somerville is.

    Somerville being a route city for non-residents passing through---those non-resident drivers, and indeed, some Somerville residsent drivers, never get the word as to street closings; causing untold back-ups that could well hinder an emergency vehicle.

    Case in point:
    I was backed up, way back, all traffic stopped both north and south-bound on McGrath Highway last year for 30 minutes due to a road race going east on Pearl Street.
    The police officers at Pearl and McGrath held up traffic until the last straggler runners came through.
    That highway being a major route for emergency vehicles and heavy traffic volume.

    Enough allready!

  2. Oh, I totally agree Anonymous!

    People easily forget that in the mad rush to make things "pedestrian friendly" or "socially focused" that the driver of the car is the one who always gets hurt. Your pain is never acknowledged and I think that is the real crime here - there is only so much suffering one can do silently and up to this point yours has been nothing short of heroic.

    I might suggest that we raze the entire city of Somerville and put, in its place, in connector routes to Cambridge from 93.

    And perhaps some dog parks without required clean up rules. That way all the former residents of Somerville really understand what we think of community based initiatives like the above.

    I applaud you, Anonymous, for standing up for your rights to drive and to not be encumbered when passing through Somerville on your errands. Braves souls like yourself are in short supply these days.

    I look forward to your own ideas on fixing this blight on our otherwise clear driving schedules.

  3. Oh, yes, the horror--imagine having to sit in a nice cushy seat for extended periods of time.

    Anon2 cracked me up.

    I'd love to close down entire sections--forever. Making them like those great European plazas where you greet your neighbors strolling around, enjoying refreshments, getting exercise, breathing less toxic air.

    1. Wow. There's nothing like having your legitimate complaint dismissed with snide, sarcastic replies. I'm confident that Anonymous(2)'s straw man argument will impress all readers with his/her helpful and substantive contribution to the discussion.

      And I agree with Mary that entire sections should be closed down forever...as long as said sections include her place of residence. She can live in her car, sitting in that nice, cushy seat all day.

      I enjoy walking Somerville, but motorists have legitimate rights, too. Virtually all of us are motorists and pedestrians (and cyclists) at different times, so it makes no sense to dismiss the needs of any group. Grow a brain.


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