Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Things to Do with Dogs in Chicago: Open Streets and Walkable Cities

 One of the best parts of living in a big city with a pup is that everything is very walkable; we have plenty of wide sidewalk spaces, crosswalks, and interesting places to visit along the way. We've learned first-hand how being able to walk to more destinations allows you to meet more people, creating closer communities within a huge population.
Driving does disconnect you from your immediate community (not to mention frustration with traffic, and road rage!), and we love that Chicago is working on eliminating car traffic by creating safer walking options and more protected bike lanes. Last weekend we even had the chance to stop by an Open Streets event.
This event closes a major street to car traffic encouraging people to walk and bike and create a healthier, more environmentally friendly, and vibrant community. I guess this has been going on in communities for awhile; for the past 20 years Bogata, Columbia reportedly blocks off streets each Sunday to create a car-free public space for everyone to enjoy. This has been spreading to other cities, and you can read what the Active Transportation Alliance has been doing with this concept, here. 
The event encouraged walking, and biking, playing, and meeting neighbors. Wouldn't you know it, we ran into our friend Pip:
Though we do have to drive many places just to transport our pups, we dream of one day eliminating our reliance on our car and owning a Nihola cargo bike to bike with our pups (complete with Doggles!).

Has anyone else noticed how the walkability (or lack of walkability) in your area influences your interactions with your community? Or do you have a similar open streets concept in your area?


Taylor G said...

A lot of the side streets in Ravenswood get shut down for block parties throughout the summer. Most get the air filled jumping gyms and other fun things for small children ( I mus be a small child because those still look fun). Unfortunately, our block doesn't do one and we don't want to invite ourselves to the ones around us. I think the street festivals and block parties are a great way to get out an meet people especially when you got Mugsy to draw people's attention.

jet said...

It doesn't happen much here, there is the occasional street market. I wish there were more street closures for parties, but everyone would drive there and drive around lookin for a place to park

Rebelwerewolf said...

We live in a suburb with little walkability. In fact, there are no sidewalks for about a mile once we get out of our apartment complex. Unfortunately, this means that we mostly walk Badger and Mushroom around the apartment complex, since we have to drive anywhere else. I would love to live somewhere more walkable so our dogs can get used to seeing people and other dogs.

Julia said...

Agh! We missed this one! I saw Active Trans had one in the loop on State St. a few weeks back, but I didn't know there were others closer to us!

I think this is such a fab idea! It's being done in areas that are so congested already - it's much more enjoyable to walk around these areas without traffic!

I also love the bike! Every since I read this article: I've been scheming on how we could ditch our single car and do everything by bike! I'm mostly to the point of doing everything by bike, but S and his photo gear are harder to tote by 2 wheels. Hopefully we'll get there!

Two Kitties One Pittie said...

Fun! In my paper-writing fury, I'm bummed I missed out! But I'm glad to see the photos and see that you guys had a great time! :)

Kate said...

We live in a suburb so it's nice for regular walks, but nothing like the parades and events and things that you guys get in Chicago. I wish there were more things like this though, they look so fun!

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