When I first heard about the “Open Streets Nashville” day, I scratched my head and wondered exactly what it was.
I was told that it would be a day when the city would close certain streets to traffic (in this case 11th Avenue in the Gulch for a few hours this Saturday) and put on a family-friendly street party with a parade, mini-stages, and booths and tents, featuring games, music, food and other fun and fitness activities.
What a good idea! — to invite people out to a “happening” part of town and let them experience the area on foot, without all the cars and buses that usually dominate the scene.
“The Open Streets Nashville event, which was inspired by similar events around the country, is a great idea,” Mayor Karl Dean said, explaining that in addition to getting people out and moving, this event also celebrates the city’s new “Complete Street” that is almost finished along 11th Avenue South in the Gulch.
“Two streets in the Gulch (11th and a portion of Division) will be closed to cars and open to all kinds of people: Parents, children, walkers, bike riders, skateboarders, musicians, you name it,” the mayor said. “There will be games, music, food and other fun activities, and businesses along the route will be invited to expand onto the street and sidewalk. I’m looking forward to being on a street without cars for a few hours.”
The Mayor, who announced this first Open Street day as part of his “100 Miles with the Mayor,” fitness initiative, said this type of festival has taken place around the country, and that this one will be the first of hopefully many regular Open Streets events here in Nashville. (another good prospect for one would be in the area round the Sylvan Park roundabout, he said)
For this first fest, there will be fitness opportunities including two mini boot camps and some CrossFit sessions, 10 minute Barre 3 classes, yoga, and hip hop sessions and all kinds of sidewalk activities during the 11 a.m. – 2. p.m. festival. Plus there will be live music featuring Lynn Taylor and the Barflies, The Shy and Supershaker on a stage near Party Fowl.
There will also be a pop-up shop and barbershop quartet from the Pioneer Gentlemen’s Barber which is opening soon in the Gulch.
Oh and two free performances of the Nashville Public Library’s puppet troupe’s “The Frog Prince.” (11:45 a.m. and 1 p.m. )
So the deal is that walkers, cyclists, families, musicians, dancers and other movers and shakers (literally) are invited bring their bikes, strollers, skateboards, non-motorized scooters, roller blades, hula hoops and dogs on leashes and join the Gulch fun.
Other free activities of the day will include: a Farmers’ Market; food trucks; and a visit from Booster from the Nashville Sounds. There will be hula hoops, artists (including chalk artists), a giant Jenga and other games, a radio remote from Lightning 100, bike repair from Halcyon Bikes, a chance to try out a Green Fleet unicycle and three B-cycle stations where you can use a special event code to borrow a bike for free to use during the event.
The Open Streets Nashville will begin at 11 a.m. on 11th Avenue South under the Church Street Bridge with a ribbon-cutting celebration commemorating the new half-mile “Complete Street,” followed by a parade of walkers, bikers and others led by Mayor Dean along the newly transformed corridor, which includes a pocket park with landscaping and fitness stations under the Church Street Viaduct.
The Open Streets idea, the mayor said, is to “encourage physical activity, promote street life, feature local businesses and highlight the environmental features of removing car traffic from a neighborhood when more people walk or bike.”
Family fun…free…healthy…fit — All that good stuff! And everybody is invited.
“Open Streets Nashville” day
Open Streets Nashville is a free, open-to-the-public event that will open streets in the Gulch to people and close them to cars between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday. The event, put on by the Mayor’s Office in partnership with Walk/Bike Nashville, offers Nashvillians the opportunity to experience their city streets, walking, biking, shopping and enjoying entertainment – instead of experiencing the streets in a car. There will be mini-stages, booths and tents along the street featuring games, music, food and fun activities. During the event, one mile of 11th Avenue South from Charlotte Avenue to Division Street and Division Street from 11th Avenue to Eighth Avenue will be closed to car traffic.http://www.openstreetsnashville.org/.
What is this “Complete Street?”
The “Complete Street” project is a half mile stretch of improvements for cyclists and pedestrians along on 11th Avenue between the Church Street Viaduct and Laurel Street in the Gulch. The project includes separate bike paths and wide sidewalks, extensive greening through landscaping and trees, an urban mini-park with 7-station PAR fitness course underneath the Church Street Bridge, lighting and expansion of the greenway trail at Eleven North Apartments south toward the Broadway overpass. The $2.9 million project, $500,000 of which was provided by Metro Parks and the rest through Metro Public Works, is almost finished.