DETROIT NEWS: Stretch of Detroit road to go car-free for a day

BY CANDICE WILLIAMS VIA THE DETROIT NEWS

Detroit — A 3.5-mile stretch of road in the city will transform into a car-free zone for one afternoon as the Open Streets Detroit event returns for a second year, organizers announced Monday.

The route for the Oct. 1 event will stretch from Beacon Park, along Michigan Avenue through Corktown and along West Vernor into southwest Detroit. The free event will run from noon to 5 p.m.

“What’s really nice about this is there’s no official starting point or ending place,” said Lisa Nuszkowski, project lead for Open Streets Detroit, organized by the nonprofit Downtown Detroit Partnership. “Our hope is that people who live in neighborhoods along the routes will walk out their front door and down the street. There will be a healthy mix of people walking, biking, parents with kids in strollers.”

Last year’s route included Campus Martius and went through Corktown to Mexicantown. This year, one end of the new route will include Beacon Park, a 1.5-acre green space that opened last month at Cass and Grand River.

“We’ve got this great new amenity right off the route,” Nuszkowski said. “What a great opportunity to highlight that.”

The event was downsized from two Sundays to one this year so organizers can focus money and efforts on one day, Nuszkowski said. The event could expand to multiple dates and different areas of the city in 2018, she said.

Myrna Segura, director of business district development at Southwest Detroit Business Association, said she’s heard from numerous businesses, including restaurants and markets, that plan to participate again this year.

“They’re very excited,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity to promote the area.”

Cecilia Benedict, general manager of Armando’s Mexican Restaurant on Vernor, said she’s looking forward to the event returning to southwest Detroit.

“It was a great turnout,” she said. “We had a large crowd come through. It was a nice family day.”

Nuszkowski said the event is in need of program partners to create family-friendly events. Last year’s event included live bands, children’s activities and art fairs.

Applicants can apply online at openstreetsdet.org/apply. The deadline is 5 p.m. Aug. 31.