On a fairly sunny and cool early fall day, Ithaca held its first ever Streets Alive! Ithaca. On Sunday, September 23rd, 2012, from 1-4 PM, 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! Then we kept rolling…
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 and the Latinos Multicultural Festival.
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 the Southside and had a glorious day of open streets in partnership with the Latinos Multicultural Festival now at Southside Community Center.
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 and, for the first time, with a Taste of Muslim Culture at BJM Elementary School.
September 25th, 2016: Streets Alive! was back in the Southside, featuring an international jump rope competition with the GIAC Jumpers and guests from Kenya!
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!
April 29th, 2018: Bikeshare was introduced to Ithaca with a ribbon cutting ceremony for LimeBike in front of GIAC; this was also the first year that Streets Alive! happened at the same time as the 4-H Duck Race and Compost Fair at Cornell Cooperative Extension.
September 16th, 2018: Bike Walk Tompkins’ Ithaca Bike Champions were out in full force at this Streets Alive! along the Southside.
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. Streets Alive! Ithaca was inspired by a growing movement to create space for healthy activity and promote active transportation in urban places. In the past 10 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.