All the World’s a Playway

MassBike’s Jimmy Pereira at the DSNI Playway
Imagine what it would be like to have a street dedicated to bicycling and walking. This street is not a shared bike lane. It is a neighborhood block with houses and open spaces for play and community engagement.What you are picturing is a playway. Playways are temporary street closures in a residential neighborhood that get community members, especially kids, active. Playways utilize street spaces for people rather than cars. They can be done in many places, from dense urban areas to suburban and rural towns.Although playways might sound like just another simple, fun event, they have a serious purpose. They create opportunities for activities and exercise, rally communities around open spaces, and connect neighborhoods. Playways allow children to be creative with play. Of course we love playways especially because they promote bicycling to all generations. In addition, by virtue of their simplicity, playways are sustainable in a way that other neighborhood events, such as a carnival, are not.

To learn about specific playways, read about the two in which MassBike recently participated: the DSNI playway and the Mattapan Playway. Anyone can host a playway. Consider the following tips to plan yours:

  • Involve residents in the planning process.
  • Plan early.
  • Identify the scope of the project. Typically playways are one or two blocks in size, but may increase as demand increases.
  • Build relationships with local community groups, city hall, and the local police department. They will work with you to help ensure that your project is successful.
  • Determine the permits you’ll need to make the project happen. Adding food or music in the public way may mean additional permits. Find the correct contacts for securing permits.
  • Recruit volunteers to help with the event.
  • Promote the event to residents and community stakeholders.
  • Document the event and celebrate the successful day!

 

Contact MassBike Program Manager Barbara Jacobson at barbara@massbike.org if you have questions about hosting a playway in your neighborhood.  

 

Comments are closed.