(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced that on Saturday, May 21, the District will host an Open Streets event on Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE in Ward 8, the first of a series of Open Streets events that will cover all eight wards. On Saturday, June 4, the District will host a second event along 7th Street NW in Wards 2 and 6.
“We know that Washingtonians love festivals, we love coming together with friends and family, and we love to show off our neighborhoods – and Open Streets allows us to do all of that,” said Mayor Bowser. “We are excited to kick off our series of citywide Open Streets events in Ward 8, and we look forward to engaging residents and businesses as our planning continues.”
In 2019, Mayor Bowser and the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) hosted the District’s first Open Streets event along a nearly three-mile stretch of Georgia Avenue between Barry Place and Missouri Avenue NW. Then, in October 2021, the Mayor hosted DC’s second Open Streets event, drawing approximately 20,000 attendees to Georgia Avenue NW. Both events included programing and activities led by businesses, community organizations, and partners, such as fitness demonstrations, drum circles, live music, double dutch, traffic gardens, pop-up bike lanes, dancing, and more. Businesses along Open Streets routes are provided extra space for outdoor dining and other activations.
At the October 2021 event, the Mayor announced that her Administration was planning smaller Open Streets events that would cover all eight wards. The Ward 8 Open Streets event will kick off the series of smaller events. The Mayor’s Fiscal Year 2023 budget includes $1.75 million for additional Open Streets events.
“We are delighted to be able to replicate the immense success we have had with the past Open Streets events on Georgia Avenue across the city,” said DDOT Director Everett Lott. “Thanks to Mayor Bowser’s vision, we have been deliberately focused on making sure that we can equitably plan Open Streets events across all eight wards – offer a glimpse of how District Streets can possibly look when we depend less on cars and more on sustainable, active transportation.”
The Open Streets concept originated in Bogota, Colombia in 1976 and has expanded to more than 122 American municipalities, including New York City, Atlanta, and Portland, Oregon. The District’s Open Streets events and related activities are planned in partnership with the Metropolitan Police Department, the Department of Public Works, the Department of Parks and Recreation, and the Department of Fire and Emergency Services.
Open Streets events happen rain or shine, and residents and visitors are encouraged to bring comfortable walking shoes to experience the variety of activations on the route.
As planning continues, more information, including exact routes, will be posted on openstreets.dc.gov.