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SWITCH: Open Street Sundays event to reimagine Downtown

The Planning and Design Centre will be hosting its third annual Switch: Open Street Sundays event.

This city-wide event opens Halifax streets up to pedestrians by closing off access to vehicles, inviting people to explore the city using active forms of transportation and transforming how they experience their city.

This year’s Switch event will take place on Sunday, September 23, 2018 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m, marking the fifth consecutive year of open street events in HRM. Since 2013, Switch has reimagined streets in both Dartmouth and Halifax, allowing pedestrians to take ownership of public spaces and explore their community by foot, by bike in comfort and safety.

Open street events began with Ciclovia, a weekly event in many European cities, where pedestrians enjoy the freedom of biking along thousands of kilometers of city streets.

Kenya Thompson, the Planning
and Design Centre’s 2018 Switch Halifax Coordinator, is excited to create a similar experience in downtown Halifax.

“For me, the greatest thing about Switch is how it allows folks to enjoy their community without the interference of traffic and crowded sidewalks,” says Thompson. “With so many pedestrians,
and its rich culture, Halifax is an ideal place for this movement.”

Thompson is currently working with the HRM to reimagine streets across downtown Halifax and implementing a route that spans from Spring Garden Road to Agricola Street. Several streets will be ‘activated’ by vendors, entertainers, and activities, in addition to businesses extending beyond
their storefront into the open street. Some streets will be made to better welcome pedestrians and cyclists, while some will feature free classes and activities to promote sustainability and active living.

The route will highlight bike lanes already implemented by HRM, as well as an open Argyle Street and public spaces like the Public Gardens and the Halifax Commons.

This will be the longest route for Switch: Open Street Sunday to date, and is expected to attract more than the 6,000 pedestrians Switch has brought downtown in previous years.

“By allowing folks to try out active transportation in a safe and comfortable environment, and experience Halifax’s businesses, organizations, and culture, Switch will show Halifax’s potential
to be a leader in sustainability and open streets,” says Thompson.

The Planning and Design Centre is grateful to its sponsors, the Spring Garden Area Business Association, the North End Business Association, and The Coast, as well as the many local
businesses, organizations, and vendors participating in this years’ Switch.

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Source : Media Release

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