Go play in the streetsRoads closed to cars during Streets Alive event
“Kids, no playing in the street!” It’s a familiar call for safety that kids and parents alike can discard this coming Sunday, when there will be no cars in sight on a five-mile stretch of roads in Fargo-Moorhead.
By: Emily Hartley, INFORUM
“Kids, no playing in the street!”
It’s a familiar call for safety that kids and parents alike can discard this coming Sunday, when there will be no cars in sight on a five-mile stretch of roads in Fargo-Moorhead.
The area’s first Streets Alive event, encouraging physical activity and a healthy lifestyle, will trade busy motor vehicle traffic for any form of “human-powered transportation.”
“Walking, bicycling, running, skateboarding (and) propelling your wheelchair” are among the valid options, said Rory Beil, director of the Cass-Clay Healthy People Initiative, the event’s leader.
The roads closed include Broadway in downtown Fargo, parts of Main and Center avenues and streets near Oak Grove and Woodlawn parks and Hawthorne Elementary, which will all be activity destinations.
Beil said the event idea comes from Bogotá, Colombia, where more than 70 miles of road are closed every Sunday of the year. In the U.S., the closest event to the area, in Madison, Wis., attracted about 10,000 people last year.
With two-thirds of North Dakotans and Minnesotans obese or overweight, the Healthy People Initiative and the dozens of area businesses and organizations involved in Streets Alive are trying to create a more health-conscious culture.
“Certainly, individual willpower is important, but we also think it’s unreasonable to expect that people will change their behavior easily when there’s so many forces in the social and the cultural and the physical environment that work against that change,” Beil said.
A main attraction of Streets Alive might be its focus on fun. Ten local fitness centers will host things like Zumba and hip-hop dance at Oak Grove Park in “Activity Alley.”
At “Education Avenue” (aka Hawthorne Elementary), kids can enjoy playground games like hopscotch and foursquare.
“Participation Parkway” at Woodlawn Park has more activities and exhibitors with tips on healthy eating and living, and “Eat & Greet St.” at Great Northern Park on Broadway is the Streets Alive version of a healthy food fair.
It’s a diverse selection aimed to get people out and about.
“The Fargo Marathon has been tremendously successful at getting people off the sofa and having something to work toward,” Beil said. “Not everybody is a runner, so our hope with this event is that we can tap into some of the population that isn’t currently active and maybe get them on the path.”
And organizers said that path begins in the streets.
“Hopefully it’ll foster a sense that the streets are available for all modes of transportation,” said Kim Lipetzky of Fargo Cass Public Health, a member of the planning committee.
“The most exciting thing is that the streets will be closed, and we can be on them and don’t have to worry about cars and the whole safety thing.”
So go ahead. Play in the street.
If you go
Readers can reach Forum reporter Emily Hartley at (701) 235-7311