This past Saturday, we joined in the fifth annual Summer Streets opening weekend. About 7 miles of city streets were free of cars, allowing scores of bicyclists, runners and pedestrians to occupy the entirety of the pavement. And, at designated rest stops, participants enjoyed a variety of activities, such as zip lining above Foley Square, rock climbing at Spring Street while hearing how to fix a bike flat from REI volunteers, and Salsa lessons at 51st Street. Although the streets were full of life with bikes whizzing passed and the pavement buzzing with the sound of runners’ feet, we were struck by how quiet the streets were without the sounds of cars. In some spots, it was actually quite eerie to notice which cross street was just passed; for, even the busiest of intersections, typically filled with the all too familiar beeps and screeches, can transform into an entirely different environment with the elimination of cars. It makes one realize how much of our urban environment has come to be defined and dominated by the vehicle, and makes one wonder the possibilities of what major cities could be like without cars.
More about Summer Streets after the break.