Why nearly 3 miles of Georgia Avenue in DC is going car-free Saturday

A long stretch of normally busy Georgia Avenue Northwest in D.C. — from near Howard University to Missouri Avenue — will close to traffic Saturday from 8 a.m to 5 p.m. Parking restrictions kicked in Friday night just before midnight.

The shutdown of nearly 3 miles will make way for D.C.’s first-ever “Open Streets” event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, on Georgia from Barry Place to Missouri Avenue.

It’s a street party meant to get people thinking about what the road would be like with fewer cars on it, and to highlight other modes of available transportation.

“We have built up our city and cities around the world around cars, and so, it is important that we examine our infrastructure and our network to see how we can support other modes,” said D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser.

A map of the closure for Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019. (Courtesy District Department of Transportation)

Download the map of the closure here.

Look for musical entertainment, fitness classes, a bike fair, kids activities, a farmer’s market and more. See a full schedule of activities here.

To encourage people to bike to the event, Capital Bikeshare is offering free 24-hour passes on Saturday, and will have three bike corrals at the event with unlimited bike parking. To get a free 24-hour pass good for unlimited 30-minute rides all day, choose “24-Hour Pass” and enter the promo code “OpenStreetsDC” on the Capital Bikeshare app.

First responders who would normally access Georgia Avenue in an emergency have contingency plans in place for Saturday.

“Our planners and emergency response officials have been planning for many months for the road shutdown,” Bowser said. “It is possible, in the nation’s capital, the capital of the free world, to shut down a street, and the city will keep moving.”

The “Open Streets” movement started in Bogota, Columbia, in the 1970s, and today, well over 100 locations in the U.S. hold their own events.

Michelle Basch

Michelle Basch is a reporter turned morning anchor at WTOP News.

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