This year marks the fifth anniversary of New Brunswick’s Ciclovia—an Open Streets initiative that closes the streets to cars and opens them to people, promoting healthy active living by experiencing New Brunswick’s vitality, livability and diversity in a safe place for people to exercise and play.
The New Brunswick Ciclovia is known as a model Open Streets program in New Jersey. Ciclovia has grown each year adding participants, activities, vendors and entertainment, while also expanding the route and nearly quadrupling the number of annual Ciclovia events.
This success has garnered curiosity and inquiries from organizations and municipalities across the state asking what it would take to bring Ciclovia to their respective cities and towns.
As a result, New Brunswick is hosting a two-day Study Tour on April 21 and April 22. The Study Tour will answer those questions by providing an in-depth look through first-hand experiences for developing an Open Streets initiative. The Study Tour is intended for all who are interested in developing an Open Streets initiative in their community, including New Jersey municipalities, bike and pedestrian advocates, nonprofit organizations, health and wellness providers and institutions, community activists and others.
Day One of the Study Tour will focus on the ins and outs of developing, implementing and operationalizing a successful Open Streets program. On Day Two, participants will tour a robust Spring route; experiencing all aspects of this free, city-wide community initiative.
“Ciclovia is now a big part of the fabric of New Brunswick. It represents the efforts of a diverse partnership of committed leaders and volunteers from across public and private sectors; representing corporate and local businesses, community health and obesity prevention advocates, arts and culture groups, faith and school-based communities, law enforcement, bike and walk activists, and city residents,” said Manuel Castaneda, Director of Community Health for New Brunswick Tomorrow.
This year, Ciclovia is collaborating with Mercado Esperanza, a flexible community market celebrating the entrepreneurial spirit, cultural heritage and artistic soul of New Brunswick’s diverse population and Esperanza Neighborhood. The Mercado (located at Joyce Kilmer Park) will allow residents and visitors to gather, shop, sell, dance, perform and express their creativity and entrepreneurship. It will showcase cultural foods and fares and Latino artists in music and theater with creative rotating performances. “Each year, Ciclovia has become more inclusive, embracing and integrating other cultural events,” Castaneda said.
The hosts and organizing partners of the Study Tour are New Brunswick Tomorrow, the City of New Brunswick, Johnson & Johnson, Rutgers University and RWJ Barnabas Health-Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (New Brunswick).