June 14, 2018 - Mayor Tom Henry was “back on the street” today, Calhoun Street to be exact, to announce the return of the City’s Open Streets Fort Wayne event.
Joined by neighborhood and business leaders, bike riders, pickleball players and fitness instructors, Mayor Henry announced that the free Calhoun Street event promoting health, business and neighborhood connectivity has added 25 new activities this year. The 2nd Annual Open Streets Fort Wayne event will take place on Sunday, July 15, 2018 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
The event will open up more than two miles of roadway to walking, biking, rollerblading and over 100 activities. The streets will be car free, similar to a huge block party, and will allow residents to enjoy and see the community like never before. While Open Streets encourages active transportation such as walking and cycling, it also encourages connection with the central business district and with multiple neighborhoods. The complimentary activities will feature giant board games including Jenga, chess and checkers. There will boxing demos, 9 Square in the Air, Picture Yourself on a Harley, a chance to test drive an e-bike, street hockey, wiffle ball, pickleball, cornhole, live music, and much, much more. Visit www.cityoffortwayne.org for the complete list of activities.
“I continue to be impressed with the quality and variety of events we offer our community and visitors each year,” said Mayor Henry. “Entertainment offerings and quality of life amenities like the Open Streets event are critical in our ability to retain and attract businesses and jobs, build on our downtown revitalization efforts and strengthen 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 11 years the City of Fort Wayne has expanded its active transportation network by adding:
- 57 miles of new trails
- 45 miles of new sidewalk
- 10.25 miles of bike lanes
- 8.3 miles of Share the Road signs
- 800 wider and more visible piano key pedestrian crosswalks
- 1200 new pedestrian crossing signals
- 700 new ADA ramps each year for a total of 7,700
- 350 bike racks
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 boundaries are from the St. Marys River south on Calhoun to Williams Street. In between there are activities that connect Berry, Wayne, Ewing and Barr Streets.
“This year’s event is on track to be bigger and better with a lot of new, fun activities,” said Amy Hartzog, Open Streets Coordinator. “We had a great turnout for the inaugural event and the feedback was incredible. One attendee said that the event felt like a big, happy community party. If you’d like to see what the event was like last year, visit www.openstreetsfw.org and take a look at the Open Streets Video.”
Volunteers are needed. Residents can visit the Open Streets website at www.openstreetsfw.org to sign-up to volunteer by clicking on the “Get Involved” button. Additionally, we invite residents to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
We thank our event sponsors, Sweetwater Sound, School of Rock Fort Wayne, Federated Media, WANE-TV, the Downtown Improvement District and Greater Fort Wayne, Inc., We are grateful to host Open Streets on Sunday, July 15, the second day of the Three Rivers Festival’s Art in the Park and the Chalk Walk.
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.