Last weekend in Atlanta, West End streets were closed to automobiles. 80,000 people pushed passed barricades to enjoy those streets in a different way. In one month’s time, Jackson Streets Alive hopes to do the same in Fondren, bringing families to Old Canton Road (between Wood Dale and Avondale) on May 31 for a day to celebrate human powered fun.
Bike Walk Mississippi, the presenting organization of Streets Alive, has partnered with Fondren Renaissance and Find It In Fondrenâ„¢ to bring awareness to the need for complete streets, accessible to the disabled, to pedestrians, to cars and to bicycles. “Fondren is a pinnacle place to demonstrate community ownership,” says Melody Moody, Bike Walk’s executive director. “People live here intentionally because they want to see events just like this in their front yard.”
Jackson Streets Alive is not a new concept. Began in Bogota, Colombia, where multiple streets are closed ever Sunday to automobiles, a Ciclovia, or cycleway, gives an opportunity to take over streets and bring out skateboards, bikes and scooters and get active. For the Atlanta event last weekend, Moody says the participation is encouraging in a society that does love their cars and trucks. “To see a southern example is very encouraging,” she explains of her outlook for the Jackson event. “It takes the block party to a whole new level.”
In past years during Jackson’s event, Streets Alive has seen yoga, Zomba, Pilates, belly dancing, hula hooping, cornhole four square, relays, skipping, jumping, ladder ball, bike polo, skateboards, dance games and the Magnolia Roller Vixens. Cody Cox, Taylor Hildebrand, Drew McKercher, Zach Lovett and Joy Garretson will all provide music from 11am – 1pm.
New for this year is the Kidical Mass, kicking of the May 31 festival with a four mile children’s bicycle ride through Fondren (at 9am). Participants are welcome to bring any sort of non-motorized transportation and take part in longer rides as well (a 10, 15 and 20 mile route will take riders through Belhaven and downtown).
But roads were built for cars, right? Not so. Moody says, “We think the roads should be built with every user in mind.” Moody also wants to clear up another bit of misinformation about her group. “We’re not anti-car; we’re pro-mutual respect. We want to look at streets as a whole and incorporate different pieces of a better transportation system overall.”
Moody says she is passionate about bikes for their ability to cut across every classification. “The bike relates to every age, race and income and is accessible to anyone across board,” she says. “We’re using the bike as a tool to make Mississippi a better state.”
About Bike Walk Mississippi
Mississippi’s only statewide pedestrian and bicycle advocacy group, Bike Walk travels to Washington, D.C. to work with Congress and the National Transportation and Safety Board to shape policies affecting roads and pedestrian rights-of-way.
Bike Walk’s annual Streets Alive event will expand in the future to include communities across the state. Bike Walk will host workshops to equip those communities to host such events.
Family memberships are as low as $35 per year. Business sponsorship opportunities are available beginning at $250 per year and include print, social media and website recognition.
Bike Walk offers a “share the road” licenses plate at a cost of $32 to drivers. In many states, 95% of their bicycle advocacy funding comes from the sale of these plates. Bike Walk asks you to consider this as an option next time you renew you car tag. When you email them confirming your purchase, you receive a complimentary Bike Walk membership for the year.