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Downtown Street Closure Celebrated

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From 11-4 on Saturday August 17 Open Streets Calgary will bring a pedal powered festival to Calgary's pilot Street Park, or “s-Park” on 10 Street between 6 and 7th Ave SW. The s-Park runs for three weeks from August 9-25th. The event will feature pedal powered live music, lights and bubbles as well as bicycle and inline skate demonstrations and bicycle advocacy information.

 

Open Streets Calgary is a local collaboration linked to other Open Streets initiatives across North America.

- Awareness for pedestrian, cycling, and other alternative transportation options.

- Participatory urban art, innovative fitness, and emerging cultural experiences that encourage a re-imagining of how public spaces such as streets are regarded and used.

- Expanded dialogue around our energy use.

- Increased profile for a growing number of Calgary’s alternative transportation and sustainability groups and initiatives

 

Open Streets Calgary is a collaboration between BikeBike, Bike Calgary, Bike Root Community Bicycle Shop, Calgary Cycle Chic, The Arusha Centre , Calgary Tour de Nuit Society, Commuter Challenge, Cyclepalooza, Calgary Carshare, Elbow Valley Cycle Club, Paper Girl Calgary, The Good Life Community Bike Shop, Two Wheel View, Shop Task inline skates, Mountain Equipment Coop. Financial support from First Calgary Financial.

 

S-Park projects are happening around the world as part of a movement to re-humanize urban spaces. “Paris' mayor, Bertrand Delanoë has won his quest to return Paris's riverside world heritage sites to walkers and cyclists. In the spring of 2013 the final promised masterpiece of pedestrianisation will be unveiled: a 2.5km car-free zone on the left bank, between the Musée d'Orsay and the Pont de l'Alma, with a riverside park, pedestrian promenades, floating botanic gardens, flower-market barges, sports courts, restaurants and even perhaps an archipelago of artificial islands." "The limiting of cars along the river was foreshadowed by his Paris Plages project, an annual "urban beach" along the Seine which began a decade ago and has been much imitated across Europe. It sees the expressway closed for a month in summer while Parisians reclaim the riverside to put their feet up on giant deckchairs along an artificial stretch of sand with potted palm-trees" – www.thegardian.com

 

Calgary support for the sPark pilot comes from community, council and administration.

 

MLA for the area, Kent Hehr is programming activities at the event and remarked, “s-Parks are an incredible opportunity to showcase the vibrancy and diversity of our downtown community and to dispel any myths about urban living. I live downtown and I love it! My hope is that events like this grow in scale and prevalence so that people can share in the wonderful experience of living in Calgary’s urban core.”

 

It is “about creating street vibrancy and creating community,” said Ward 8 Ald. John Mar

The concept behind creating this spontaneous vignette of a park is really about doing something unexpected, particularly in areas that are lacking the vibrancy that we’re looking for.”

 

Gary Young, president of the Downtown West Community Association, markets it as a way to get the surrounding community involved, he "describes the area as a “gated or locked door” community largely composed of condominium and apartment buildings, parking lots and struggling businesses. In short, it’s a difficult area in which to build community spirit.Young hopes the s-PARK will help draw area residents out of their homes and foster a sense of community," wants to move away from it just being a bunch of buildings 

 

The Centre City Plan outlines the s-Park objectives:

-Ensure through-cycling;-Consider distinctive eco-paving (e.g. full or partial water retention or permeability), textures and colour treatments;

-Provide distinctive, movable and multi-purpose street furniture to accommodate various  pedestrian activities; and

-Provide special lighting, water, landscaping or public art features"

 

For information:

Gerald Wheatley, Open Streets Calgary Manager 403-270-3200

Kent Hehr, MLA Calgary Buffalo, 403-244-7737

Dawn Thome, City of Calgary media relations, 403-828-2954