More Boston roadways will close to cars this summer for 'open streets' events

Open Newbury in its first year, 2016. (Joe Difazio for WBUR)
Open Newbury in its first year, 2016. (Joe Difazio for WBUR)

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu announced Thursday that the city will expand its car-less days on Newbury Street to streets in other neighborhoods in the coming months.

Areas will include Dorchester Avenue, Grove Hall and Jackson Square. And in Back Bay, the city is exploring permanently closing off a block of Dartmouth Street between Copley Square Park and the Boston Public Library; that extended test run begins next week.

It's all part of an effort to make Boston's streets safer and friendlier for walkers, bikers, children and community building — though Wu noted it's something "Boston is not used to doing."

First, the city will close Dartmouth Street from Boylston Street to St. James Ave. to cars for 10 days, beginning this Tuesday, June 7, to Friday, June 17. During that time, officials will study the impacts on traffic and collect feedback to inform their decision on the block's potential future.

Second, they're planning once-a-month, single-day weekend events during which long stretches of streets in other neighborhoods will be closed to cars from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., like Open Newbury (though there will be some spots where cars can cut through):

  • July 10: Centre Street — from Lamartine Street in Jackson Square to the Soldier Monument by South Street.
  • Aug. 6: Blue Hill Ave. — from Dudley Street to Warren Avenue in the Grove Hall neighborhood of Dorchester.
  • Sept. 24: Dorchester Ave. — a full 2-mile stretch from Freeport Street in Savin Hill to Gallivan Blvd. by Ashmont.

Each event will be a half-day long, and include a 1- to 2-mile stretch of road. Activities will include food trucks, games, photo installations, performances and more.

The dates for Open Newbury are still to be announced, but Wu did say that it will have "expanded hours and timeframes" this summer. It has previously run for three Sundays a year.

The mayor said these Open Streets events will allow residents to experience more open space.

"The kids can just scooter down or ride their bikes or run around," she said, "and you don't have to worry about a thing except for taking in all the community that's there — the fun, the music, the offerings that the small businesses have."

With additional reporting from WBUR's News Desk

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Nik DeCosta-Klipa Newsletter Editor
Nik DeCosta-Klipa is the newsletter editor for WBUR.



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