Downtown road devoid of cars for Open Streets event

Posted at 4:10 PM, May 04, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-04 18:10:17-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- Downtown Salt Lake City streets were filled with bikers, joggers, games and even yoga classes on Saturday for an Open Streets event.

Open Streets events temporarily turn city streets into areas exclusively for biking, jogging, walking and more, all in the hopes of encouraging new people to try out such activities in a fun environment.

Saturday’s event was organized by Bike Utah and Salt Lake City, and it was supported by several businesses. Transportation Planner Collin Quinn-Hurst, Open Streets, said the event brings a new feel to streets.

“During the weekday there are rows of parked cars, and there are a lot of cars moving up and down, once you clear all those cars away it's really a massive street with a lot of space that you can re-imagine,” Quinn-Hurst said.

Mark Polichette is a cyclist who attended the event, and he said he encourages people to take up biking as a means of transportation.

“Cycling needs to be a bigger part of everything here,” he said. “To get around Salt Lake on a bike is easy. And more people need to realize that.”

The normally busy streets played host to things like an African dance class, which attendee Darlene Johnson enjoyed.

She said: “How often can you dance in the middle of the street? It's wonderful.”

Open Street organizers said the events help people learn about their city. They said 70 percent of people who take part in the events come back to visit a business they didn’t know was there until the event.