On a fairly sunny and cool day in September of 2012, Ithaca held its first ever Streets Alive! Ithaca. On Sunday September 23rd, 2012, from 1-4pm, Cayuga Street was closed to cars and open to people for 10 whole city blocks. Approximately 100 volunteers helped manage the intersections, take pictures and surveys, take care of event details, and offer bike repair. Somewhere around 1800 to 2400 people enjoyed the open street: strolling, mingling, biking, rollerskating, chalking, dancing, eating ice cream and popcorn, learning new skills in the bike rodeo, talking transportation, doing tai chi, or four square, or hula hooping, or just hanging out. It was AWESOME!
The main event is simply a closed street or streets with space to walk, roll, bike, and move. You can make up your own fun stuff to do, and we offer other fun stuff to do too: bike rodeo, dancing in the streets, hula hooping, music, bike repair stations, and more.
May 5th 2013: Streets Alive! came back to Ithaca on for another brilliant day of ‘playing in the streets’, this time on a slightly longer route that included Cayuga Street and Court Street to GIAC.
September 22nd, 2013: Streets Alive! came to Ithaca on Sunday, September 22nd 2013, for the first time in the Southside neighborhood of Ithaca.
May 4th, 2014: Streets Alive! returned to Fall Creek neighborhood and also partnered with Ithaca Earth Day to hold joint events.
September 7th, 2014: Streets Alive! returned to the Southside of Ithaca and expanded the route down to Wood St. to connect with Wood Street Park.
May 3rd, 2015: Streets Alive! entered its third year and hosted its sixth event in the Fall Creek Neighborhood in partnership with Cultura’s Cinco De Mayo event. Over 5,000 people joined the fun!
September 21st, 2015: Streets Alive! returned to Southside and had a glorious day of open streets!
May 5th, 2016: Streets Alive! entered its fourth year and hosted its eighth in Fall Creek. It was cold and threatened rain, but folks still came out to enjoy their open streets!
September 25th, 2016: Streets Alive! was back in the Southside, featuring an international jump rope competition with the GIAC Jumpers!
April 30th, 2017: The 10th Streets Alive! happened back where it all began on Cayuga Street!
September 17th, 2017: Streets Alive! returns to the Southside and continues with all things bike, walk, roll and play!
Streets Alive! first happened in Ithaca in September 2012, but has been in the hearts and minds and planning work of many organizers and transportation advocates in the area for a number of years.
For a Streets Alive! Ithaca event, a stretch of streets is closed to cars for a few hours on a weekend and the entire community is invited to walk, bicycle, dance, play and socialize in the street. Streets Alive! Ithaca has been inspired by a growing movement to create space for healthy activity and promote active transportation in urban places. In the past 5 years, over 65 cities in North America and around the world have successfully launched Streets Alive! initiatives, also known as Open Streets, Sunday Parkways, and Ciclovia. Some cities have had Streets Alive! style events for decades. A few of the events and organizations that inspired Ithaca are linked here – check them out. They are bound to inspire you too.
Streets Alive! Ithaca is a joyful, inclusive, lively way to promote active living, re-envision possibilities for urban space and encourage more walking, cycling and rolling for daily transportation. Streets Alive! has many benefits, including but not limited to the following:
Sustainability: Streets Alive! offers a safe place for people of all ages and abilities to experience bicycling in the city. This can help lead to future transportation choices that reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. It also supports local businesses.
Improved Health: Streets Alive! promotes healthy activity and helps counteract obesity trends and the problems and costs associated with sedentary lifestyles.
Safe Communities: Streets Alive! creates welcoming opportunities for everyone to get to know their city and neighbors, enjoy inter-generational and inter-cultural experiences, and make connections.
Tourism & Economic Development: People who know each other, like where they live, and sometimes get around by active transportation, tend to shop locally and support local businesses. Also, over the years Streets Alive! Ithaca could become such a “happening” that it draws visitors and enhances the city’s desirability as a place to live, work and play.
Bike Walk Tompkins' mission is to change the culture and infrastructure of the Ithaca area so that people embrace sustainable transportation, especially walking and bicycling, in their everyday lives. We work to advocate, educate, and motivate for more trips done by bike and foot. Bike Walk Tompkins is now a project of Ithaca Carshare.