This Sunday marks the next CycLOUvia open streets event in Louisville, this time taking place along Frankfort Avenue—the third time that corridor has played host to everything but cars for a day. CycLouvia goes down from 2:00 to 6:00p.m. on Sunday, April 24 from Stilz Avenue in Crescent Hill to Pope Street in Clifton. A police-controlled vehicle crossing is planned at Ewing Avenue.
By now, you should be familiar with Open Streets and Louisville fine version of that program, CycLOUvia. For four hours, motorized traffic is banned from a corridor and people—on foot, on bike, on skateboard, or perhaps on pennyfarthing—are invited in. The Open Streets
And this year, businesses along Frankfort Avenue are pulling out all the stops to add to the fun of open streets. Block Party (2916 Frankfort Avenue) is hosting a CycLOUvia sale just for pedestrians and cyclists, will have Sno What Snowballs for sale, and cornhole set up in the street. Ramiro’s Cantina (2350 Frankfort Avenue) is offering specials on food. Barre3 Louisville (2400 Frankfort Avenue) will be offering free yoga. Varanese (2106 Frankfort Avenue) will host a CycLOUvia cookout. And Hilltop Tavern (1800 Frankfort Avenue) is hosting a fundraiser for Falls City Community Bike Works and Broke Down Bicycle Club where brews will be served off the beer bike, and free bike repair and water bottle filling station will be offered. And there’s sure to be more.
If you’re trying to get through the area on any of TARC’s Frankfort Avenue transit lines—Routes 15, 19, and 31—be sure to check out these scheduled Sunday detours.
But CycLOUvia is way more than just an excuse for some fun in the street (although that’s a big part of it). Open Streets events like CycLOUvia help us make cities better. Here are eleven ways that CycLOUvia is benefiting Louisville.
- CycLOUvia changes the way we interact with the city. It’s not every day that you get to walk leisurely down the middle of a major street in Louisville. That’s what Open Streets makes possible. When you’re in the street—anywhere on the street—you get to look at the city from new perspectives, see just how wide four lanes really are, and just how many people such a street can support.
- It gets people out and active that otherwise might not be. While many of us are active already, either exercising regularly or commuting on foot or by bike, there are many others of us who need a little extra nudge to get out and walk or bike. There’s nothing like CycLOUvia to get someone who’s bike-curious out and pedaling on the street for the first time. And who knows, maybe it’ll become a habit.
- It contributes to the economic vibrancy of the street. Did you see that list above of all those local businesses offering specials and hosting fun events during CycLOUvia? Open Streets is good for business. Studies have shown people on foot or on bike are much more likely to spend money at local businesses they see along their route. And the reason is logical enough: It’s a lot easier to lock up a bike and stop in a store—or simply walk in—than it is to park an enormous automobile when you see something cool.
- CycLOUvia allows us to rethink how we use public space. While perennial Open Streets hosts like Frankfort Avenue and Bardstown Road are narrow by suburban arterial standards, there’s still a lot of space there dedicated solely to cars during most days. But our streets are still public space, and as such, we should get as much out of them as we can. CycLOUvia allows us to think about where traffic calming might work, where pedestrian bumpouts would help cross the street, or where bioswales might help improve the environment.
- It’s a chance to show off or take in the public theater. One of the best parts of living in the city is all the quirky people you share it with. Whether you’re the one keeping Louisville weird or you’re just taking it all in, the theater of the street is a sight to behold. Watch for plenty of zany antics while people-watching at CycLOUvia, from yoga in the street to exuberant garb, to kids at play.
- It allows us to appreciate our local architecture. When you’re up against a building on the sidewalk, it can be difficult to take it all in. Or if you’re driving, your eyes had better be on the road! But CycLOUvia gives us a chance to view Louisville as a work of art where the street is the gallery. While you’re out riding around on Sunday, be sure to take time to admire the beautiful—and sometimes more unsightly—scenes along Frankfort Avenue.
- CycLOUvia gives us a peace of mind that we’re not in danger. We’ve all felt it, that feeling of dread when walking down a busy street, or trying to cross a road with cars zipping all around. Open Streets takes away that panic and let’s you enjoy the street on your own terms. Life moves a little bit slower and the headaches of being a pedestrian in Louisville slowly fade away.
- It’s a chance to breathe easy with no exhaust. When you look at it from a microscopic perspective, our streets are a bit like open sewers of exhaust. You can feel it in the heat of summer, or when a particularly dirty truck speeds by. But at Open Streets, you can breathe a little easier as you play in the street.
- CycLOUvia is a chance to build community. CycLOUvia attracts thousands of people from all over the city, and you could run into anyone from the Mayor to your regular TARC bus driver. Or perhaps that neighbor down the block you’ve been meaning to introduce yourself to. Open Streets is as much a neighborhood event as a city one and it can make those neighborhood bonds even stronger as people realize what an asset their neighborhood thoroughfare really is.
- It’s a great excuse to take a selfie. You know, ’cause on any other day there’s a pretty good chance of bodily injury when you try to stop in the middle of an arterial street to get the perfect shot of your mug.
- CycLOUvia shows us that the city can change. This is the Open Streets clincher. When you put all the other reasons why CycLOUvia is so great into one, you can really begin to see that there’s a better Louisville within our grasp. All we have to do is ask for it, create it, and repeat. Four hours on a Sunday can mean a better city for life.