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Chicago’s first protected bike lane on Kinzie St. increased ridership by 55 percent without increasing traffic congestion for cars.

Chicago Heights hosts its first Open Streets event

Chicago Heights recently opened up Ashland Ave. for residents, visitors and even dogs to walk, run, bike and play.

During a three hour event on Sunday, July 28, eight blocks of Ashland were closed to traffic and opened for pedestrians to enjoy their community. Residents of this South suburb were able to ride, walk or just have fun in a safe, car-free environment.

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Open Streets spurred lots of residents to get out walking and biking, and enjoying beautiful 75 degree weather.
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Active Trans has been working with the City of Chicago Heights to implement its Active Transportation Plan, which recommends events like Open Streets that are fun, healthy and active.

Local stakeholders make up the Steering Committee for the Active Transportation Plan, including city staff, aldermen, residents and representatives from Prairie State College, Bloom Township High School, Chicago Heights Park District, League of Illinois Bicyclists and the National Park Service.

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St. Paul's Church provided live music, popcorn, and water. Bloom Township High School brought out their bio-diesel bus. The mayor and aldermen walked Ashland, and the League of Illinois Bicyclists offered a bike repair station.
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Turning Ashland into a pedestrian playground not only offered the opportunity for active and healthy recreation, but was also just plain fun — especially seeing adults trying out tricycles, like Ald. Josh Deabel pictured below.
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The city plans to move this event to a different ward each year, allowing residents from different neighborhoods the opportunity to exercise with friends and family, connect to their community and engage with their neighbors.
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Look like fun? Be sure to catch Open Streets in Chicago next month on Milwaukee Ave. The event will close down nearly three miles of roadway in the Wicker Park/Bucktown and Logan Square neighborhoods on Sunday, Sept. 15 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.Visit openstreetschicago.org for more information!

All photos courtesy of Diane Banta.