Cincy Summer Streets
Cincinnati’s streets are coming alive as “Cincy Summer Streets” kicks off this summer, offering locals a free and innovative way to stay active and healthy.
The “Summer Streets” event concept has been gaining momentum and activations around the world for years. It’s coming to Cincinnati this summer, thanks to three local ladies: Margy Waller, Anne Sesler and Melissa McVay.
The three women partnered with the city, area neighborhoods, and local organizations to bring Summer Streets to Cincinnati for two separate weekend events this summer. “Cincy Summer Street will offer people a chance to view their city in a new way,” explains Waller. “The concept makes way for a car-free environment in public spaces, where everyone can run, walk, bike and enjoy dozens of fun activities.”
The idea to bring it to Cincinnati began two years ago when Waller was in New York City. “I stepped out of my hotel and saw people outside having fun, walking, riding their bikes, and just enjoying being active,” recalls Waller. With more than 100 Summer Street events already taking place across the country in cities like Indianapolis, Louisville, New York, and Chicago, Waller connected with Sesler and McVay who wanted to recreate the same environment here in Cincinnati.
Modeled after other events, including the Paris Plage in France and Ciclovía in Bogotá, Colombia where it originated, Summer Streets is transforming into an annual activity in cities around the world.
Locally, the Walnut Hills and Northside neighborhoods are the first to close their streets and sponsor Cincy Summer Streets. The first event was held on Saturday, July 19 from 9:00 a.m. to 2 p.m. in East Walnut Hills and Walnut Hills. It attracted more than 1,500 people from around the city to enjoy activities such as belly dancing, hula hooping, yoga, and salsa dancing.
“It was so rewarding to see the look on people’s faces when they saw no cars on the streets and all of the open space,” says Waller. “For many, this was the first time they had the opportunity to get out and be physically active. People commented this was the first time they had walked this far.”
One of the best things about this event concept, Waller says, is that it opens the community up to a wider variety of options to achieve a healthier lifestyle. “Currently, Ohio is ranked as the 13th most obese state in the nation according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention,” Waller explains. “Cincy Summer Street activities present a way to exercise in a way that’s fun and enjoyable. We’ve also partnered with Interact for Health in efforts to change the upward trend. We want to help people find healthy options in their community.”
If you missed the July Cincy Summer Street event in Walnut Hills, join the Northside neighborhood on Sunday, August 24, from 9:00 am to 2:00 p.m. The neighborhood route will be: Hamilton Avenue will be closed to cars between Pullan Avenue and Spring Grove Avenue. Additionally, Blue Rock Street will be closed between Cherry Street and Dane Avenue. Activities confirmed to-date include Happen Inc., My Nose Turns Red, Spun Bicycles, Galaxie Skate Shop, Queen City Bikes, Wump Muckets, Word Play, Yoga Ah and more to be announced. Parking will be available in lots near the route as well as on side streets throughout the neighborhoods. Attendees can also ride their bikes or take the Metro to the event.
For more information, or if you would like to volunteer, visit www.cincysummerstreets.org, follow Summer Streets on Twitter @cincystreets and #cincystreets, Facebook and on Instagram.