Expansion of Open Streets Events and Open Newbury Announced
Mayor Michelle Wu today announced five Open Streets events, expanding the family-friendly, free pedestrian spaces to East Boston and Allston-Brighton. The addition of two new locations (Harvard Ave. & Brighton Ave., and Meridian St.) to the Open Streets events this year builds off the success of last year’s three events (Dorchester Ave., Centre St. in Jamaica Plain, and Blue Hill Ave. in Roxbury). Like last year, more than a mile will be temporarily closed to vehicular traffic to create room for community and play. The half-day events will allow local businesses to expand into the street, and to safely make space for music, games, bicycling, community tabling, and more. Additionally, Mayor Wu announced Open Newbury will be returning with expanded dates. Newbury Street will be pedestrian-only every Sunday, starting July 2 and running through October 15. Together, the announcement of these two car-free events series expands on the Mayor’s commitment to reimagining our streets and creating a family-friendly Boston.
“Last year was a reimagining of what's possible when we think about transforming our streets, from how we connect to where we connect with each other. That's why as part of our commitment to making Boston the best place in the country to raise a family we're expanding our efforts this year to not only have those three successful events continue in community but to add Allston-Brighton and East Boston," said Mayor Michelle Wu. "For Open Newbury we have ten more days for residents and visitors to explore the eight block, mile long stretch of shops, restaurants, galleries, and activities free from car traffic."
“These events demonstrate what can be possible on our streets when we open them to everyone,” said Jascha Franklin-Hodge, Chief of Streets. “Families and neighbors get to explore their communities in new ways and enjoy a safe, fun environment for walking, biking, and recreation.”
“Open Streets is an exciting opportunity to help residents meet new friends, connect small business owners with new life-long customers, and weave neighborhoods together in a family-friendly celebration for everyone to enjoy,” said Segun Idowu, Chief of Economic Opportunity and Inclusion. “I am grateful to the Mayor and colleagues across the Administration, our partners in the field, and the women- and BIPOC-led businesses helping to ensure we grow the number of safe and successful Open Streets events that make our city come alive.”
“We hope residents join us again this year to activate our streets, connect with their neighbors, and support local businesses in their community,” said Brianna Millor, Chief of Community Engagement Cabinet. “The goal of this event is to bring joy to our neighborhoods and allow children, our seniors, and families to be unified and have fun on our streets safely.”
This year’s Open Streets events will take place from 10:00 a.m. (with streets closing at 9:00 a.m. and activities beginning at 10:00 a.m.) to 3:30 p.m. in Jamaica Plain, Roxbury, Allston-Brighton, Dorchester, and East Boston. The schedule is as follows:
- Sunday, June 25: Centre Street (Jamaica Plain)
- Saturday, July 15: Blue Hill Ave. (Roxbury)
- Saturday, August 19: Harvard Ave. & Brighton Ave. (Allston-Brighton)
- Sunday, September 17: Dorchester Ave. (Dorchester)
- Sunday, October 15: Meridian Street & Bennington Street (East Boston)
- The exact stretch of vehicular closure for Meridian Street & Bennington Street is still being finalized.
“As a business owner in the Three Squares district, I can confidently say that the great Open Streets event hosted by the City and Three Squares last summer was a tremendous success,” said Michael Soltani, owner of the Brendan Behan Pub. “It brought people together, created a vibrant and lively atmosphere, and showcased the best of what our community has to offer.”
Open Streets programming will vary slightly by neighborhood but will include food trucks, kids’ hubs (with face painting, balloon animals, crafts, interactive games, and more), photo installations, exclusive performances and activations, and Pedicabs. The City is contracting again this year with Shana Bryant Consulting, a Black- and woman-owned small business, to carry out Boston’s Open Streets program.
“Shana Bryant Consulting is elated to be working with Mayor Wu, the Streets Cabinet, and the Office of Economic Opportunity and Inclusion to expand Open Streets Boston in 2023 from June to October,” said Shana Bryant. “Due to the success of last year in Jamaica Plain, Roxbury and Dorchester, we have added two new neighborhoods, Allston Brighton and East Boston. We are looking forward to building off of last year's excitement and making ‘Open Streets Boston’ a cherished, family fun, and exciting new Boston tradition for community members, organizations, and visitors.”
"We are very excited about Open Streets coming to East Boston, this is a great idea and excellent opportunity to network with neighbors and bring everyone together. The Veronica Robles Cultural Center is planning to kick off El Día de lo Muertos celebration with its annual parade celebrating life during the Open Streets day," said Veronica Robles, Executive Director of the Veronica Robles Cultural Center.
"We're very excited to bring Open Streets to Allston Village, it's a great opportunity to showcase the vibrancy of our business, art and entertainment community, and we're thrilled to work with the city on this event,” said Alex Cornacchini, Executive Director, Allston Village Main Streets.
Newbury Street will this year be closed to vehicle traffic every Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. from July 2 to October 15. The route will be the same as previous years, with Newbury Street closed to cars from Berkeley Street to Massachusetts Avenue. Parking will be restricted on Newbury Street and adjacent streets, with enforcement beginning at 5:00 a.m. Signs will be posted informing drivers of the change.
The City first piloted Open Newbury Street in 2016. Open Newbury has returned and grown every year (with the exception of 2020). In previous years, thousands of people have enjoyed food, shopping, and dining in the street.
“The Back Bay Association is pleased that Open Newbury will welcome pedestrians, shoppers, diners and visitors to Boston’s Iconic Newbury Street for more than three months of Sundays,” said Meg Mainzer-Cohen, President and Executive Director of the Back Bay Association. “Many retailers, restaurant owners and businesses have quantified the success of Open Newbury, that led to increased sales, customer engagement and an overall creative use experience of this public way.”
More on Open Newbury can be found here.
These two announcements build on Mayor Wu’s commitment to reimagine how Boston streets work for residents and visitors and how reconfiguring public spaces can foster community. In April, Mayor Wu announced the return of the Playoff Hub on Canal Street, temporarily closing the street to cars during home playoff games at TD Garden. In January, the Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) announced findings from the Copley Connect pilot in summer of 2022. Following the success of the pilot, transportation planners with the BPDA and BTD intend to study permanent improvements to Dartmouth Street between the Boston Public Library and Copley Square Park that would improve the public realm between three of Boston's most iconic civic spaces and formally unify Copley Square.