This April, Bike Macon and other downtown organizations are kicking out the cars and allowing pedestrians to take over College Street.
The “Open Streets” event Sunday, April 17 from 2 to 6 p.m. is the first of its kind in Macon, but it’s part of a growing trend in cities across the country.
“The idea of this event is by closing a traditional thoroughfare (in our case College Street) to automobile traffic for a day, you really open the street up to a whole world of other possibilities. It really allows for event goers to begin seeing our city in a different way,” said Austin Harrison, a Mercer senior who is helping coordinate the event, in an email.
Harrison cited Atlanta Streets Alive and Savannah Circlovia as similar events that have happened in Georgia.
As a part of Open Streets, College Street will only be open to rollerblades, bicycles and foot traffic during that time. Various individuals and organizations from around the city will be hosting events along the streets, with three primary “hubs” for activity. Harrison said that this could mean anything from “giant jenga to concerts to four square.”
According to Bike Macon’s press release, they are expecting around 2,000 people to participate in the event. Harrison said that the main goal is to get people out in their community in a real, tangible and intentional way.
“As the generation that will one day very soon inherit these cities, it is important for us to see their potentials and begin working towards an overall healthier way of living and that often starts with making our cities more walkable and bike-able,” Harrison said.
This initiative is the manifestation of Bike Macon’s vision, which aims to connect neighbors across Macon by using fun and creativity to help make residents more comfortable with walking and biking around town, according to their website.
There are also opportunities to do more than just go to the event, Harrison said. If students are interested in getting more involved, they can volunteer to help oversee activities, act as crossing angels and ensure that everyone has a great time. Students should contact Harrison or Rachel Hollar (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more details.
Open Streets is a joint effort of Bike Macon, the Community Foundation of Central Georgia, Main Street Macon, Macon-Bibb County Urban Development Authority, and Macon Bibb-County Parks and Beautification, the release said.
- Assist with setup of barricades, signage, tents, activity hubs, cones, clean up and other operational logistics before the event
Volunteer Check-In + Info Hub
- Check-in Open Street Macon volunteers
- Provide information and guide Open Streets Macon participants and volunteers
- Distribute materials and snacks to Open Street Macon volunteers
- Responsible for looking after a hard closed street, typically hard closed with a barricade
- Prevent unauthorized vehicles from entering the route
- Assist with entrance/exit of authorized vehicles (if permitted)
- Greet participants as they enter/exit Open Streets
- Answer questions as necessary
- Collect information from Open Streets participants by conducting surveys
- Count participants at the top of each hour
- Conduct post-Sunday surveys with stakeholders along the route
- Gather testimonials from all different types of participants
- Assist in taking down barricades, signage, tents, activity hubs, cones, clean up and other operational logistics after the event.