Wednesday, May 29, 2024
Urban Planning

Open Streets Detroit: Fun In The Sun, And An Alright Start

On Sunday I attended Open Streets Detroit, possibly the Motor City’s first-ever effort at creating a contained version of an albeit completely Motorless City, in this case along a route that went from Campus Martius downtown, west along Michigan Avenue, and then west-southwest along Vernor Highway to Military St. (a.k.a. Campus Martius to the Martial Streets).

A juxtaposition along westbound Michigan Avenue in Detroit’s trendiest neighborhood of Corktown.

A partnership between the City of Detroit and numerous other stakeholders including DTE Energy  Southwest Solutions and the Vista Partnership, based in Southwest Detroit along the Vernor Hwy. portion of the route, the event was billed as an opportunity to showcase the city’s cultural institutions and highlight the health benefits of walkable, bikeable communities. USGBC-DRC even showed up.

Image from Open Streets Detroit.

I also attended both Open Streets events in Windsor, which ran in a sort of horseshoe from Ford City on the far east side of Windsor through Walkerville along Wyandotte (the main drag along Windsor’s largely east-west orientation, parallel with the Detroit River), the whole way down University Avenue into Windsor’s West End and Sandwich Town.

A good time was had by all. And it was an alright start– maybe to a new culture that emphasizes accessibility, open space, and walkability over the hegemony of the almighty automobile!

Nat M. Zorach

Nat M. Zorach, AICP, MBA, is a city planner and energy professional based in Detroit, where he writes about infrastructure, sustainability, tech, and more. A native of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, he attended Grinnell College in Iowa, the Kogod School of Business at American University, the POCACITO transatlantic program, the SISE program at the University of Illinois Chicago, and he is also a StartingBloc Social Innovation Fellow. He enjoys long walks through historic, disinvested Rust Belt neighborhoods at sunset. (Nat's views and opinions are his own and do not represent those of his employer).

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