May 2, 2017 - Mayor Tom Henry took to the street today to announce the City’s first-ever Open Streets Fort Wayne event.
Joined by neighborhood and business leaders, BMX stunt riders and pickleball players, Mayor Henry announced the Calhoun Street event that promotes health, business and neighborhood connectivity. The initial Open Streets Fort Wayne event will take place on Sunday, July 9, 2017 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Open Streets Fort Wayne will temporarily close the street to vehicles and open it to walkers, bike riders, roller skaters and fun activities such as giant inflatable games for kids. The event will allow residents to see Fort Wayne in a unique way, get some exercise and socialize with new and old friends.
“Fort Wayne continues to be a leader in providing unique opportunities for residents and visitors to enjoy,” said Mayor Henry. “Hosting an Open Streets event is an example of our community’s willingness and commitment to bring people together. As a point of destination city, it’s critical to have quality of life amenities that attract and retain businesses and residents and enhance our neighborhoods.”
Open Streets Fort Wayne is led by the City’s Division of Public Works and fits perfectly with Public Works’ efforts to encourage residents to walk and bike Fort Wayne as it continues to enhance the Active Transportation Network.
Over the past 10 years the City of Fort Wayne has expanded its active transportation network by adding:
- 40 miles of new trails
- 38 miles of new sidewalk
- 8 miles of bike lanes
- 8 miles of Share the Road signs
- 800 wider and more visible piano key pedestrian crosswalks
- 1200 new pedestrian crossing signals upgraded
- 700 new ADA ramps each year for a total of 7,000
- 350 bike racks
Open Streets Fort Wayne not only embraces these connections but allows feet, bikes, strollers and skates to take over the street for a day. This year’s Open Streets Fort Wayne connects the neighborhoods of West Central, East Central, LaRez, Hoagland Masterson and Williams Woodland with the Central Business District on Calhoun Street. The event area goes from the St. Marys River south on Calhoun to Williams Street. In between there are activities that connect Berry, Wayne, Ewing and Barr Streets. See Map for Details
Open Streets is family-friendly and free for everyone. Along the Open Street route attendees will find Activity Hubs featuring live music, golf, Fort Wayne Derby Girls, soccer, and many other activities. A full list of activities will be announced soon. Additionally, several businesses normally closed on Sunday will be open.
“We have a great event planned and know the activities will be a hit! That said, we are in need of volunteers to step-up and assist with attendees maneuvering the route and with our activity hubs.” said, Amy Hartzog, Open Streets Coordinator.
Residents can visit the Open Streets website at OpenStreetsfw.org to sign-up to volunteer by clicking on the “Get Involved” button. The website also has additional event information. Additionally, we invite residents to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
We thank our major financial sponsors, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne for their generous donations that total $50,000 to assist with signage, safety and security. Activity Hub funding sponsors include Hanning & Bean, Parkview Health.
History of Open Streets Events
Open Streets got its start in Bogota, Columbia in 1974 when every Sunday streets became blocked off to cars and the streets turned into “cycleways” – open to walkers, runners, skaters, and bicyclists. The car-free street events featured stages with music, aerobics, yoga and other activities along with the new way to enjoy the community. The event quickly grew in popularity and it’s estimated that two million people in Bogota participate in the Open Streets events.
Today, nearly 20 countries, including the United States, host Open Streets events. Fort Wayne joins 38 other U.S. cities to host an event.
About Public Works
The Division of Public Works creates and maintains safe and functional public spaces and transportation networks in the City of Fort Wayne. The men and women of Public Works touch the lives of every resident every day of the year by maintaining and enhancing streets, trails, sidewalks, curbs, ADA ramps, street lighting, traffic signals, road and directional signs, crosswalks, and by performing important operations, such as snow plowing, leaf pick-up and flood control.
Event Fudning Sponsors
Thank you to the Knight Foundation and Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne for your generous support.