Open Streets 2017 gave me the opportunity to combine two of my favorite things: flânerie and talking to strangers. A flâneur is a person who strolls around in urban environments. And talking to strangers adds a bit of improv to the act of strolling.
I’m interested in resilience. There’s a “social ecology” to resilience – it is strengthened through a person’s physical and social environments. How cool is that? You can improve your capacity to navigate your way to resources that sustain your well-being by strolling around and talking to strangers you meet along the way.
I’m the Creative Director of the Resilience Project, here in Corvallis (not pictured). We are starting a new event called the Summer Games – it’s kind of a scavenger hunt where teams complete events for points (our mayor will present the winning team with gold medals at the end of the Games – how cool is that?). The events are all designed to improve participants’ resilience, and give them opportunities for some silly fun for a week in August.
Look for Pop-up Poetry during Open Streets. The booth will be the intersection of Open Streets and the Summer Games. Summer Games teams will earn points for chatting with an Open Street-er for a minute and then writing them a custom poem in 60 seconds. The poem can be for you, or you can hang out and be a poet for a bit. Or try both! There’s more info at www.wearetheresilienceproject.org/the-summer-games
You should probably start training now for Open Streets. Start by taking a weekly walk around your neighborhood – put on some comfy strolling shoes and stay hydrated for chatting. I’ll see you on August 19th at the Pop-up Poetry booth.
Keep your eyes on the street for another Neighborhood Bikeway demonstration on August 19! You may have heard these transportation corridors referred to as Bike Boulevards, Green Streets, or Neighborhood Greenways. Regardless of name, the vision for these streets is the same – “quiet”, low speed, low-stress side streets shared with motorists that feel safe for bicyclists and pedestrians and promote community within neighborhoods.
Neighborhood Bikeways encourage active transportation through simple street features such as:
- pavement markings called sharrows – you know, the ones with a bicycle and v-shaped stripes indicating shared space for bicycles and vehicles;
- diverters that move orkeep traffic on nearby busier streets;
- speed humps, the name for wide, flattened speed bumps to slow traffic;
- and curb bump-outs or bulbs that both shorten crossing distances for people on foot and lower traffic speed.
Neighborhood Bikeways are a key part of a community’s low stress traffic network, which is designed to encourage active transportation for people of all ages and abilities. The routes for last year’s Open Streets event on 11th Street and this summer’s event on 27th Street were selected because they are streets identified as having the potential to become future Neighborhood Bikeways. Come find out for yourself when you walk, bike, and play with us on August 19th!
Tracy Oulman is the City’s Housing and Neighborhood Coordinator. She rides the same bike she’s had since college and still doesn’t know how to work the gears, but she always uses hand signals.
Giant Scrabble…a flying bicycle carousel…beanbag toss…relays. And some things for the kids to do, too. Open Streets is a great big good time that reminds us how important it is to have fun together.
Have you ever been in the middle of an intense conversation when something funny happens? It’s like a timeout – smiles crack, laughter spreads, the room exhales. It’s a pause that resets the tone and gives us something to share.
Open Streets gives Corvallis a timeout to remember why we love the place we live and have a good time together. Put it on your calendar, tell your friends and family, get up early and host a breakfast before you go. Get ready for an exhale – we are about to have some fun!
Date: August 19, 2018 from 12p – 4p
Route: Cloverland Park to Harding Center
Get Involved! Open Streets takes people power! Intersection superheroes, door hanger distributors, beer garden monitors – opportunities from 1 hour to all day – tell us what you’re up for. Sign-up now and spread the word to everyone you know who might be interested. The more the merrier!