PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Three and a half miles of Penn Avenue and Butler Street shut down to traffic Sunday. It was all for the first of this summer’s “Open Streets Pittsburgh.”
“It’s one of my favorite events of the year, we have three or four days where we get out and celebrate being in the city streets on bikes, on skate boards, roller blades, walking,” said Healthy Ride’s David White.
The streets were totally transformed into a place for people to have fun. During the event, dozens of businesses set up pop-up shops and sidewalk cafes. Others offered special sales and promotions.
This year’s celebration was also to recognize the one year anniversary of Healthy Ride — the bike share program in the city.
“Its really fun to kind of say you know Pittsburgh is willing to embrace getting around by bike and kind of maybe leaving the keys on the shelf for a day or two,” said White.
There are currently 50 stations in 12 neighborhoods across Pittsburgh. In the first year alone, there were 80,000 rentals. The mission for year two is to launch an additional 10 stations.
“The only way that this works is if we have a great relationship with the city, the only way it works is if our local leadership recognize the importance of active transportation and we have that,” White said.
Something else that makes the program such a success — the simplicity of it.
“You register with our system online or call us and register over the phone and then when you’re registered, you walk directly up to a bicycle, rent the bicycle from the computer on the bike be on your way,” said White.
Bike Pittsburgh organizes “Open streets Pittsburgh” events, and there are more planned for June and July.