For one day, the streets to St. Petersburg belonged to pedestrians of all ages and abilities… with two or four legs!
Oct. 29 was the annual Open Streets St. Pete, which closed 13 blocks along Central Avenue in downtown to traffic and opened to the public.
Locals flocked to the carless streets, flooding the area with an assortment of our neighbors on wheels, pedestrians and pets who were able to enjoy the openess of the area.
“Open Streets is so successful because people are able to experience the city in a way that hasn’t been possible before,” said Laura Cantwell, AARP Florida Associate State Director of Advocacy & Outreach. “They have a wider space to explore and can enjoy outdoor activates right in the middle of downtown without fear of traffic.”
This year’s Open Streets featured pop-up parklets, which are miniature parks are placed along sidewalks, offering a place to sit down and relax in an area with little room for larger green space.
Food and craft vendors, games, giveaways and activities for people of all ages and abilities were also available at the event. There was also plenty of room for people who wished to bike, skateboard, rollerblade and simply enjoy the outdoors.
“The staff and volunteers of AARP Tampa Bay were thrilled at the opportunity to get involved in this event,” said AARP Florida State Director Jeff Johnson. “Open Streets offers a source of fun for people of every age, which cannot be underrated.”
In fact, this goal of creating social opportunities for people of every age is one of eight goals that the Livable Community initiative seeks to achieve. According to these goals, a livable community provides safe, walkable streets; age-friendly housing and transportation options; access to needed services; and opportunities for residents of all ages to participate in community life.
In the bay area, AARP is working to make the community more livable with the combined efforts of the community, volunteers who give voice to the initiative and sit on committees and St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman.
Both Pineallas County and the city of St. Petersburg have joined the AARP Age Friendly Community Network. We look forward to working with other bay area communities to help them become friendlier to residents of all ages.
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