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Open Streets

Health Factors: Diet & Exercise Family & Social Support
Decision Makers: Community Development Professionals Community Members Employers & Businesses Local Government Grantmakers Nonprofit Leaders Public Health Professionals & Advocates
Evidence Rating: Expert Opinion
Population Reach: 10-19% of WI's population
Impact on Disparities: No impact on disparities likely

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Description

Open Streets initiatives, also called Ciclovía programs, allow community members to gather, socialize, walk, run, bike, skate, dance or participate in other activities on selected local streets by temporarily closing streets to motorized traffic. Some initiatives operate regularly in the same location while others change locations within an area (e.g., different Open Streets dates in different neighborhoods); approach depends on the social, political, economic, and physical context of the city and neighborhood where the event will take place. Local governments, non-profits, or coalitions can undertake these events, with funding from a variety of sources, including public funds, private investments, and charitable donations. Open streets events can be held regularly (e.g., weekly or monthly) or once or twice a year (Open streets). 

Expected Beneficial Outcomes

Increased social cohesion
Increased physical activity
Increased active transportation
Increased social capital
Reduce emissions from mobile sources
Improved air quality

Evidence of Effectiveness

Open Streets are a suggested strategy to increase social cohesion and physical activity among community members (Hipp 2014, Kuhlberg 2014, CDC-WHO CC) as well as enhance use of active transportation options such as walking and bicycling (Eyler 2015). Available evidence suggests that Open Streets initiatives may increase opportunities for social interaction across socio-economic groups (Sarmiento 2010) and increase physical activity levels among participants (Hipp 2013, Zieff 2014, Torres 2013). Participants who attend multiple Open Streets events appear to engage in physical activity for a longer period of time during the event than first-time attendees (Zieff 2014). Regular participants may also experience greater increases in social capital than infrequent participants (Torres 2013). Routinely held Open Streets events are likely to have greater effects than less frequent events (Hipp 2014, Kuhlberg 2014). However, additional evidence is needed to confirm effects.

Planning Open Streets routes through diverse neighborhoods can encourage participation, and events in higher need areas may increase the likelihood of participation among those at the highest risk of obesity (Wolf 2015). On-site bicycle rentals, targeted advertising, and coordination with community organizations may also make Open Streets events more accessible and attractive to a broad variety of community members (Engelberg 2014). Collaboration and buy-in between community partners, local businesses, residents, and city agencies may be important elements for successful Open Streets initiatives in urban areas (Zieff 2013).

Implementation costs for recurring Open Streets events vary by model and location. An economic analysis of a San Francisco-based effort calculated per capita costs of $70 and a benefit-cost ratio of $2.32 of medical cost savings per dollar invested in the Open Streets program (Montes 2011).

An assessment of a Los Angeles-based effort suggests that Open Streets initiatives may contribute to improvements in air quality (Shu 2016).

Implementation

United States

Between 2008 and 2013, over 90 US cities have hosted Open Streets events (Hipp 2014). A growing number of cities host weekly or monthly Open Streets events. For example, San Francisco hosts Car-free Sundays in Golden Gate Park; Seattle hosts Bicycle Sunday from May to September; and Westchester County, NY and Wayne County, MI have Open Streets events weekly during spring and summer (ABW-OS guide 2012). 

Wisconsin

Beginning in 2009, Madison, WI holds an annual Open Streets event called Ride the Drive. During Ride the Drive, selected streets are closed to motorized traffic and opened to cyclists, walkers, rollerbladers, and others. Ride the Drive also includes music, activity hubs, and local vendors along the route (Ride the Drive).

Implementation Resources

8 80 Cities - 8 80 Cities. Healthiest Practice Open Streets. Accessed on April 1, 2016
ABW-OS guide 2012 - Alliance for Biking & Walking (ABW). Street Plans Collaborative. Open streets guide. 2012. Accessed on February 29, 2016
ALR-OS measuring success - Hipp J, Eyler A. Open streets initiatives: Measuring success toolkit. St. Louis, MO: Active Living Research (ALR); 2014. Accessed on February 29, 2016

Citations - Description

Open streets - Open Streets Project. Accessed on February 29, 2016

Citations - Evidence

CDC-WHO CC - Lankenau BB, Pratt M, Schmid T, Torres A. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/World Health Organization Collaborating Center for Physical Activity and Health: A condensed history. Atlanta: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed on February 29, 2016
Engelberg 2014* - Engelberg JK, Carlson JA, Black ML, Ryan S, Sallis JF. Ciclovía participation and impacts in San Diego, CA: The first CicloSDias. Preventive Medicine. 2014;69:S66-S73. Accessed on February 29, 2016
Eyler 2015* - Eyler AA, Hipp A, Lokuta J. Moving the barricades to physical activity: A qualitative analysis of Open Streets initiatives across the United States. American Journal of Health Promotion. 2015;30(1):e50-e58. Accessed on March 23, 2016
Hipp 2013 - Hipp JA, Eyler AA, Kuhlberg JA. Target population involvement in urban ciclovias: A preliminary evaluation of St. Louis open streets. Journal of Urban Health. 2013;90(6):1010-1015. Accessed on February 29, 2016
Hipp 2014* - Hipp J, Eyler AA, Zieff SG, Samuelson MA. Taking physical activity to the streets: The popularity of ciclovía and open streets initiatives in the United States. American Journal of Health Promotion. 2014;28(3):114-116. Accessed on February 29, 2016
Kuhlberg 2014* - Kuhlberg JA, Hipp JA, Eyler AA, Chang G. Open Streets initiatives in the United States: Closed to traffic, open to physical activity. Journal of Physical Activity and Health. 2014;11(8):1468-1474. Accessed on March 23, 2016
Montes 2011 - Montes F, Sarmiento OL, Zarama R, et al. Do health benefits outweigh the costs of mass recreational programs? An economic analysis of four ciclovía programs. Journal of Urban Health. 2011;89(1):153-170. Accessed on February 29, 2016
Sarmiento 2010* - Sarmiento O, Torres A, Jacoby E, et al. The Ciclovía-Recreativa: A mass-recreational program with public health potential. Journal of Physical Activity & Health. 2010;7(2):S163-S180. Accessed on February 29, 2016
Shu 2016* - Shu S, Batteate C, Cole B, Froines J, Zhu Y. Air quality impacts of a CicLAvia event in downtown Los Angeles, CA. Environmental Pollution. 2016;208:170-176. Accessed on March 23, 2016
Torres 2013 - Torres A, Sarmiento OL, Stauber C, Zarama R. The Ciclovia and Cicloruta programs: Promising interventions to promote physical activity and social capital in Bogota, Colombia. American Journal of Public Health. 2013;103(2):23-30. Accessed on February 29, 2016
Wolf 2015 - Wolf SA, Grimshaw VE, Sacks R, et al. The impact of a temporary recurrent street closure on physical activity in New York City. Journal of Urban Health. 2015;92(2):230-241. Accessed on March 23, 2016
Zieff 2013 - Zieff SG, Hipp JA, Eyler AA, Kim MS. Ciclovía initiatives: Engaging communities, partners, and policy makers along the route to success. Journal of Public Health Management and Practice. 2013;19(3):S74-S82. Accessed on February 29, 2016
Zieff 2014* - Zieff SG, Kim M, Wilson J, Tierney P. A “Ciclovia” in San Francisco: Characteristics and physical activity behavior of Sunday Streets participants. Journal of Physical Activity & Health. 2014;11:249-255. Accessed on February 29, 2016

Citations - Implementation

ABW-OS guide 2012 - Alliance for Biking & Walking (ABW). Street Plans Collaborative. Open streets guide. 2012. Accessed on February 29, 2016
Hipp 2014* - Hipp J, Eyler AA, Zieff SG, Samuelson MA. Taking physical activity to the streets: The popularity of ciclovía and open streets initiatives in the United States. American Journal of Health Promotion. 2014;28(3):114-116. Accessed on February 29, 2016
Ride the Drive - Ride the Drive. Madison, WI: City of Madison; 2015. Accessed on February 29, 2016

Page Last Updated

April 6, 2016

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