SALT LAKE CITY – On the first Saturday of May, Salt Lake City will open a downtown street exclusively to people walking, jogging and bicycling, as well as for family-friendly games and activities. Known as “Open Streets Salt Lake City,” this event is part of a national movement to temporarily open selected streets as public space, creating room to walk and bike while enlivening the street with activities that can range from aerobics and yoga to street tennis and break-dancing.
Tomorrow, Mayor Ralph Becker and the City Transportation Division invite residents and local business owners to attend a kick off party announcing this program to broaden the use of streets as public space on Thursday, Feb. 7 from 4-7 p.m. at Squatters Pub, 147 West Broadway (300 South.)
Businesses are a major focus of Open Streets Salt Lake City. St. Louis found that 73 percent of Open Streets participants make a purchase at a store or restaurant along the route and 68 percent of participants become aware of a restaurant or store that is new to them. With thousands of participants in attendance, this can amount to a multitude of new customers for local shops and restaurants along the route.
The benefits also extend beyond the local business community.
“Open Streets SLC is a great way to promote both wellness and alternative methods of transportation in a local community,” said Mark Kindred, chair of Open Streets Salt Lake City. “Not only are we trying to promote alternative transportation, but we want community and local business to realize the wellness benefits of biking and walking around downtown Salt Lake City.”
Bike Utah, the statewide bicycle advocacy organization, is partnering with Salt Lake City to organize the event, with sponsorship from Performance Bicycle.
“By opening the streets in downtown Salt Lake City to bikes and pedestrians, we will be promoting a physically active lifestyle that encourages friends and families to get out and re-think what the city means to them,” said Bike Utah Executive Director Scott Lyttle.
For more information visit http://www.bikeslc.com/OpenStreets/OpenStreets.html.