Atlanta Streets Alive promotes biking, community diversity

100523 - Atlanta - Edgewood Ave. is filled with pedestrians and bike riders as the street was closed for Atlanta Streets Alive.  Modeled after similar events from around the world, including Colombia, San Francisco, Cleveland, and Paris, the first-ever Atlanta Streets Alive took place on Edgewood Ave. from Woodruff Park to Randolph St. Sunday.    Atlanta Streets Alive was a ciclovia where the organizers closed streets to cars and opened them to all kinds of organized activities -- including belly dancing, street performing, fitness, hula hoops, tai chi, and dancing, all for free. Hundred of participants rode their bikes or walked the streets and took part in activities.   Sun, May 23, 2010  Bob Andres, bandres@ajc.com
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100523 - Atlanta - Edgewood Ave. is filled with pedestrians and bike riders as the street was closed for Atlanta Streets Alive. Modeled after similar events from around the world, including Colombia, San Francisco, Cleveland, and Paris, the first-ever Atlanta Streets Alive took place on Edgewood Ave. from Woodruff Park to Randolph St. Sunday. Atlanta Streets Alive was a ciclovia where the organizers closed streets to cars and opened them to all kinds of organized activities -- including belly dancing, street performing, fitness, hula hoops, tai chi, and dancing, all for free. Hundred of participants rode their bikes or walked the streets and took part in activities. Sun, May 23, 2010 Bob Andres, bandres@ajc.com
100523 - Atlanta - Edgewood Ave. is filled with pedestrians and bike riders as the street was closed for Atlanta Streets Alive.  Modeled after similar events from around the world, including Colombia, San Francisco, Cleveland, and Paris, the first-ever Atlanta Streets Alive took place on Edgewood Ave. from Woodruff Park to Randolph St. Sunday.    Atlanta Streets Alive was a ciclovia where the organizers closed streets to cars and opened them to all kinds of organized activities -- including belly dancing, street performing, fitness, hula hoops, tai chi, and dancing, all for free. Hundred of participants rode their bikes or walked the streets and took part in activities.   Sun, May 23, 2010  Bob Andres, bandres@ajc.com

Hundred of participants rode their bikes or walked the streets and took part in activities for Atlanta Streets Alive. Sun, May 23, 2010 Bob Andres, bandres@ajc.com

Riding around on bicycles is doing more than just promoting exercise and an alternative mode of transportation. If you’re riding with Atlanta Streets Alive, it’s showcasing the diversity in cultures in different communities.

Atlanta Streets Alive events are where the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition shuts down streets to cars and leaves them open for people.

Bring your bike. Bring your feet. And get ready to explore the streets of Atlanta.

These events started off with the goal to shift residents’ opinions of transportation in the state ranked 25th in bike friendliness.

“I felt like an Open Streets event was an idea so far outside of everything we were talking or thinking about,” Rebecca Serna, the executive director of the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, was quoted as saying on Alliance for Biking & Walking’s website. “Opening up streets and taking cars out of the equation would help people experience how great it is to escape your car. I knew we’d never get a large number of people to get that unless we took cars out of the picture.”

And that’s exactly what happened. Within the last five years, Atlanta Streets Alive’s numbers in participants has dramatically increased from 5,000 to 100,000. Not only has it helped start a larger conversation about transportation, it’s also shown thousands of Atlantans the diversity that lives around them.

“Some of the routes are more diverse than others, but I’d say it’s one of the most diverse events you see in Atlanta,” Serna said. “There are so many neighborhood festivals but our neighborhoods are fairly segregated. Especially the West End event, which is in a historically black community, where the concept has gotten such a stronghold within the community.”

The next Atlanta Streets Alive event is the 2015 National Open Streets Summit on Sept. 25-27.

– Blog post by reporter Kendall Trammell, kendall.trammell@coxinc.com.


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