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Houston Chronicle Editorial Board

Can walkers rule once a week?

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On vacation, we gravitate toward street life - spots with shop windows, sidewalk cafes, street musicians and people-watching galore. And we always wonder: How can we get more places like that in Houston?

In this car-dominated, city, it’s hard to know where to start. But we like the idea floated in a new on-line petition. Why not, it asks, open one city street to pedestrians once a week? Why not, one evening out of seven, ban cars from one stretch of pavement, and let bikes and street life rule?

The petition urges Houston’s mayor and city council to follow the lead of cities such as New York, Tokyo and Barcelona, and create a temporary pedestrian plaza.

“Just let pedestrians take over once a week,” wrote John Pluecker in the OffCite blog post that prompted the petition. “Let a thousand Sunday night walks bloom. Just a simple avenue for families to walk a stretch in the company of others. A boost for local businesses. A reason to get out on a Sunday night no matter the time of year. A space for performance artists and musicians and writers to interact directly with a wider public.”

Exactly what street and what day might that be? “Westheimer Wednesdays” has a ring to it; we like the idea of wandering from restaurant to restaurant, bar to bar.

Even better, though, might be a “Streets for Feet” Sunday afternoon, in which pedestrians take over downtown. Imagine McKinney closed off from Discovery Green to City Hall, its pavement full of life: yoga classes, bikers, skaters, dog-walkers, joggers with strollers, flea-market stalls, farmers’ market offerings, food trucks and outdoor stages. That’s a city we’d like to live in. We hope the petition reaches its goal of a thousand signatures next week. We’d love to see a hundred or so of its backers strolling down McKinney en masse, on their way to present their request to City Hall.

Sign the petition here.


Full Story: Can’t walkers rule once a week?
Source: The Houston Chronicle, February 3, 2013

 

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