It often can appear, looking back, that Detroit was "the" automotive manufacturer ages prior to being a city "proper." A quick gaze across the landscape we reside among, a pride rests over our shoulders as we call it home. From asphalt in distance to highways as far as the eye can see, streets criss-crossing everywhere and nowhere as if a jumbled yarn ball we call our motorways, likening each car to its prior counterpart and seemingly to have a mile of roadway strapped to it as it rolls of the assembly line, and still our vehicle count on these roads could have been argued to be at an all-time low.
An isolated conundrum found as one reads across multiple news outlets in the passing day... a pedestrian or cyclist caught unaware by the seemingly broadside of a sedan. Counter-intuitive as it may be, we could be had to perceive that we were to have countless vehicles on our roadways, though so few means for bikers and non-motorized motorists alike. However, the Open Streets program strives toward delivering a slight shift to such a dynamic. If even for a few days annually, the program seeks to reduce the volume of vehicles on our roads and elevate the volume of people trekking on-foot.
The foundation is simple. One day, a grouping of hours blocked off, roads closed to motorists, bikers/walkers/families/wagons even seem to be the primary form of locomotion on our roadways. Mirroring that of the marathon closures seen around the country, but with a more laid back approach. Such an excellent concept can invite communities to step out confidently, comfortably, and enjoy their own city a little more. Its outstanding to see neighbors come together again on this premise alone; no vehicles on certain roads, and people exiting personal living spaces to enjoy the neighborhood air.
Certainly, as with most things, detractors could exist. Although, any kind of that would be best left to those citizens who wouldn't be appreciate of change, especially one that could render them a minute late for the routine, afternoon latte due to simply needing to travel down a different side street. For the most part, this endeavor seems to be embraced by numerous participants, including city leaders, whom turn this annual extravaganza into an annual event many look forward to. Once upon a time, the roads might have been said to belong to pedestrians and our automobile operators were required to abide by allowing those on-foot the right of way. Marketing efforts of our modern times have delivered change. Every time something changes, sometimes going back may be a beneficial thing that we can all admire.
Ever wonder about the experience of our past generations in walking down the very center of a main road -- Michigan Avenue, for example, where the mid-afternoon hustle and bustle is eliminated along with the hesitation of becoming a hood ornament. Let us travelers afoot reclaim our status as masters of our streets in society. Let us acknowledge that vehicles will not become the mainstay they have been once regarded as, and in pedestrian fashion, at least for a few hours in a single day of a single year, let us enjoy the start of something beautiful and enjoy our communities with our friends, families, and neighbors once again.