Thousands take to car-free streets for biking, walking in North Side and West End
August 1, 2016 12:00 AM
Open Streets Pittsburgh was also a day for walking, as John and Danielle Algie of Ross took to the streets of the North Side, along with their two children, TJ, 3, his sister Collette, 1, and Heisman, the family boxer
Bicycle riders roll down Western Avenue on the North Side Sunday morning during Open Streets Pittsburgh.
Sarah Coyne, 17, from Cranberry, rides a mountain unicycle down Federal Street during the Open Streets Pittsburgh.
Stewart Gibb, 7, from Vienna, Virginia, keeps his eyes on Dave Krack, who was instructing him on how to ride a unicyle at a booth in front of PNC Park on Federal Street.
By Kate Giammarise / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
For four hours Sunday, three miles of streets and two bridges stretching from Downtown into the North Side and the West End went car-free — and were taken over by bicyclists, walkers, runners, scooters, strollers, inline skaters and others.
OpenStreetsPGH bills itself as an event aimed at promoting healthy activities, reimagining city spaces and showing neighborhoods and areas along the route in a way they haven’t been seen before.
“If you are curious about OpenStreets, really the best way to find out more is to try it,” said Mike Carroll, the Bike Pittsburgh event director. “Exploring the city on foot, it really gives you a new perspective on things.”
Organizers estimate between 17,500 to 20,000 people took part in Sunday’s activities. Bike Pittsburgh coordinates the event with about two dozen other organizations. Sunday was the last of three events scheduled for the year.
The event is in its second year, but Sunday was the first time OpenStreetsPGH has included routes on the North Side and the West End, according to Mr. Carroll. Previous routes have been in Downtown, the Strip District and Lawrenceville.
“I love the fact that you’re over in the North Side, you’re by the river, you’re by the stadiums,” said walker Julie Moreland, speaking Sunday after just having crossed the Roberto Clemente Bridge from Downtown to the North Side.
“I like the energy in the city. It’s energizing walking with this many people,” Michele Ufner said. “You have young people, kids, dog walkers, bikers.”
The two had come to the city from Butler for the event and were planning on walking and then going to lunch.
Mr. Carroll said organizers were looking to incorporate new neighborhoods as well as including something of a Pittsburgh icon, which is how they decided to include the West End Bridge, with its views of the city.
“There's something really magical about being on the West End Bridge without cars,” he said.
City Councilwoman Theresa Kail-Smith said she was pleased the event encompassed her West End district and the businesses on South Main Street.
“It was fantastic. Our community was excited. The businesses were excited … it was a great opportunity to showcase our neighborhood,” she said. “The only thing we would ask is that they expand it next year.”
Jim Stack of Allison Park, who was on his bicycle near Federal Street on the North Side, said he preferred the event’s usual route to the new one, but said he still enjoyed it.
He said he would like to see an OpenStreetsPGH event every month.
The next OpenStreetsPGH event is scheduled for the last Sunday in May 2017, Mr. Carroll said.
Kate Giammarise: email@example.com or 412-263-3909 or on Twitter @KateGiammarise.
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