Dave Reid

UPAF, My Ride, and Sunday Streets for Milwaukee?

By - Jun 9th, 2009 04:30 pm
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This past weekend I took part in the United Performing Arts Fund’s 29th annual Miller Lite Ride for the Arts, it was great to see thousands of people show up bright and early to take part in the ride.  This event brought together two goals, supporting the arts and promoting more bike riding, that fit perfectly with the creation of a vibrant city.  The day of the ride was cold, and it rained part of the way through, but the experience of seeing so much of Milwaukee at a pace where you can actually take it in got me thinking.   First, it was abundantly apparent that Milwaukee’s roads are truly in bad shape.  Secondly, it was interesting that the ride didn’t require the closing of many streets, basically just part of Water St., and that the amount of car traffic along the route was minimal.  This was interesting as the possibility of closing streets on Sundays to allow for other activities and events apparently without disrupting any significant amount of traffic appeared possible.  This potential to close streets on Sundays reminded me that in Milwaukee we have a variety of great street festivals and events, but one car-free event that has yet to arrive in Milwaukee is a Ciclovía.

Whereas most of Milwaukee’s events are a often a good excuse to fill up on Miller Lite, a Ciclovía closes down sections of road stretching for miles to be used exclusively for bicyclists and pedestrians to ride or walk.  A Ciclovía could further the ability for residents to enjoy the weather, and the city in a healthy and enjoyable manner.  Other U.S. cities such as San Francisco, Chicago, El Paso, and Portland are leading the way by taking back the streets, and encouraging people to enjoy the city again.  The U.S. events are called Sunday Streets, Sunday Parkways, and Summer Streets, but the concept and the design of these events are all based on a Ciclovía .  Much like neighborhoods street festivals that show off the district, a series of Sunday Street events could show off different parts of the city and allow for community to occur.  Further, these events would not only show off areas, but actually could be used to bring together different parts of the city in a shared event.  To get a sample of what an event would be like I’ve included a video of New York City’s Summer Streets.

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3 thoughts on “UPAF, My Ride, and Sunday Streets for Milwaukee?”

  1. Pete says:

    This is such a cool idea. I had never hear of this until you posted this article. Milwaukee definitely should do this, after watching that video and seeing how fun it looks it seems almost stupid not to do it. Hopefully people who are in a position to let this happen will hear about this and make it reality!

  2. Jeff Jordan says:

    Dave, this is an out of the park good idea. Milwaukee is great city. Walks and rides for wonderful causes are held all summer long. Why not a street festival to celebrate nothing but getting together and having fun

  3. Dave Reid says:

    @Jeff Jordan Right. I personally love all the festivals and events. But it seems to me an event about walking, biking, and community could be a great new thing for Milwaukee.

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