Open Streets covering 22 blocks

May 15, 2019

Open Streets will return for the third year in July and is adding a bike parade to the festivities.

The free event, with 100 activities, closes Calhoun Street to vehicle traffic and brings the community together to walk, bike, skate and play in the street. Parkview Health is the presenting sponsor of this year’s Open Streets Fort Wayne. It is scheduled 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 14.

“Open Streets is becoming a popular summer tradition in Fort Wayne that offers residents, neighborhoods and visitors unique opportunities to enjoy our community,” Mayor Tom Henry said in a statement. “Events like Open Streets highlight how Fort Wayne is experiencing positive momentum and excitement like never before.”

This year’s Open Streets Fort Wayne directly connects the neighborhoods of West Central, East Central, LaRez, Hoagland Masterson, Historic Williams Woodland, Fairfield and Williams Park with the central business district on Calhoun Street. The route is 22 blocks stretching from Superior Street to Pontiac Street, according to a news release.

“While you can use your skateboard, roller skates or blades, or even walk, we are encouraging people to bring their bike and ride the entire route of Open Streets this year,” said Amy Hartzog, program manager for Open Streets Fort Wayne. “Last year, it was great to see an increase in bicycle use both from individuals and families. This year, there is added incentive to bring your bike, as we begin the first annual bike parade.”

Residents of all ages are encouraged to decorate and join in the fun for the Open Streets Bike Parade. Multiple awards will be presented to children, adults, businesses and organizations for best theme, use of color, originality, and design. Attendees can visit openstreetsfw.org for decorating ideas.

Activities include live music, golf, roller derby, soccer, pickleball, giant-sized board games, Pokemon Go, dancing, baseball, basketball and bubble machines. Additionally, the route offers access to the Three Rivers Festival Art in the Park and Chalk Walk.

The Summit City Match program will connect attendees to the entrepreneurs to activated “pop-up” retail and art spaces. The shops will be open throughout the day.

“The pop-up shops allow business owners and artists to test their concepts with real customers at very little risk,” said Trois Hart, director of SEED Fort Wayne.

Based on suggestions from 2018 attendees, this year’s event will have an after-party from 3 to 5 p.m. near the intersection of Calhoun and Masterson Avenue. The joint event offered by Open Streets and Summit City Match will allow attendees more time to connect celebrate, socialize and visit the pop-up shops opening for the event.

The city’s Public Works Division started Open Streets Fort Wayne as a way to encourage residents to increase their walking and biking on the city’s Active Transportation network that includes more than 1,600 miles of sidewalks, a trail network of 116 miles, 20 miles of bike lanes and bike routes, 350 bike racks, and more visible and accessible countdown signals, crosswalks and ADA ramps.