Elected Officials

Create Play Streets

Play Streets programs temporarily close a section of a street off to cars, typically for a morning or a day on a regular, but seasonal, basis, for use as a public playground. Activities are often organized and supervised by volunteers or city workers.

Guidance
  • Plan ahead: Contact potential partners and brainstorm activities in winter or early spring
  • Reach out to community partners early and often, from the permit application process onward
  • Organize community-outreach meetings, recruit volunteers, and brainstorm ideas and partnerships
  • Recruit supervisors and activity coordinators from community groups, local police athletic leagues, municipal parks department employees, or summer youth-employment programs
  • Schedule regular, consistent activities
  • Publicize your play street: Create an activity schedule and share it with local blogs, newsletters, community meetings; post it in grocery stores, community centers, and other activity hubs; spread the word through social media
Benefits
  • Quickly and cheaply expands the amount of recreation space in an area
  • Creates a local walking destination
  • Reduces potential pedestrian-vehicle conflicts
Considerations
  • Temporarily reduces available curbside car parking
Where to Use It
  • Locations with strong community partners
  • Areas in close proximity to a residential neighborhood
  • Discrete road sections or blocks with detour routes available for local vehicular traffic
  • Underused roadways adjacent to schools or parks
  • Areas underserved by parks and open space
Professional Consensus
  • In the absence of endorsements or guidance from national associations or governmental departments, cities are turning to best practices employed by other municipalities
Examples

This material is the product of a partnership between America Walks and Sam Schwartz Engineering. Visit here for more information on the partnership.