The Sunday, May 1st event drew an estimated 10,000 people to the 3-mile route that connected neighborhoods from NoDa, Villa Heights, Belmont, Optimist Park, First Ward, and Elizabeth, nearly half of whom walked or rode their bikes to the event.
“It was just wonderful,” said Jim Garges, director of Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation. “One of the things I enjoyed the most, was talking to folks who were out there on their porches, and seeing them engage with people along the route.”
Data from intercept surveys taken along the Open Streets 704 route shows more than half (61%) would be more likely to walk or ride a bike for transportation, most (72%) would be more likely to visit a park or greenway, and nearly all (98%) said the event improved their feelings about Charlotte.
“It brought me great joy to see all the smiling faces having fun in the people-filled rather than car-filled streets…I can’t wait to do it again!” said Partners for Parks’ Christy Churchill.
Yes, Open Streets 704 is a free event for participants, but it also proved to be good for business! Most people surveyed (80%) said they planned to spend money at businesses along the route, and many (69%) said they’d discovered a new restaurants or shop while at the event.
“To be able to interact in our city like this, it just shows that we really are addressing something that is a major need in Charlotte,” said Jordan Moore, Bicycle Program Director for Sustain Charlotte.
The next Open Streets 704 event is being targeted for this fall, with another two events planned for 2017. Open Streets 704 is made possible by a generous grant from the Knight Foundation, in partnership with Partners for Parks, Mecklenburg County Government, the City of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County Park & Recreation, the Mecklenburg County Health Department, and the support of Charlotte B-Cycle, the Charlotte Chamber’s Healthy Charlotte Council, Sustain Charlotte, and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police and Charlotte Fire departments.