Spring Buzz: This Open Streets 704 could “B” the Best One Yet

Bikes, Beer, and BOOM! are coming to a street near you as Open Streets 704 returns to its most popular route, from NoDa to Plaza Midwood, on Sunday, April 28, 1:00 to 5:00pm.

Last spring’s Open Streets 704 event (just east and north of uptown) brought out more than 30,000 neighbors and friends into the car(e)-free streets to ride, roll, stroll, dance, paint, play, and generally enjoy their favorite people-powered activities on four miles of Charlotte’s roads.

This spring, the route starts on North Davidson Street at 36th Street with the Family Zone and follows the popular road straight down to the Green Zone at Cordelia Park in Villa Heights. Along the way, the Southminster Stage at East 27th Street, in front of Free Range Brewing, will offer music for the whole family, intergenerational art and movement demonstrations, and tri-shaws (adult-sized three-wheeled bikes that can carry passengers like a rickshaw) for use on the route.

“We really want to encourage participation for all ages,” said Tracy McGinnis of Southminster. The tri-shaws are a popular part of Southminster’s Cycling Without Age program, and they allow families to travel the route together. A sure to be popular stop for them, just a couple of blocks from the stage, is Cordelia Park, which will be full of fun activities for kids, parents, and grandparents, too.

From the Green Zone, the route jogs over into the Wellness Zone on East 15th Street, then down North Myers Street and across Belmont Avenue. It turns north (northeast) again on Pegram Street, where it rolls up to Kennon Street and takes a right. Four stops in the Wellness Zone will make you get up and dance: the Tosco Music Party stage, DJ Smitty, the Latin American Coalition stage, and DJ Spinn will all be shaking the rhythms for your route.

“This is a great chance to show folks the growth in Optimist Park, Belmont, and Villa Heights,” said John Short, an Open Streets 704 board member. “It’s changed a lot from the areas you may remember years ago, and even from last year.”

Folks who already love riding bikes in and around Kennon Avenue will be delighted to see one of Sustain Charlotte’s demonstration projects with the Charlotte Department of Transportation: “sharrows” on the pavement showing where bikes and cars share the road. A painting project will also extend a curb with a highly visible marker for cars to follow.

The last stretch along the route, and one that often invites the biggest crowds, is down Thomas Avenue to Commonwealth Avenue. This year the final stretch will encompass the Arts & Science Zone, which will be programmed by BOOM! Charlotte as the third day of the annual Plaza Midwood festival.

BOOM! Charlotte sponsored a stage in the West End during the Fall 2018 Open Streets 704, and the collaboration got the two groups talking—especially when they realized Open Streets 704 would fall on the third day of the BOOM! Festival this year. The programs will include a diverse mix of art, music, and dance in one of the most popular spots on the Open Streets 704 route.

Two great parties in one!

“BOOM! will energize an already popular area and make it electric,” beamed Partners for Parks Treasurer, Al Brown. “It’s great for folks to be able to see what BOOM! is all about!” Open Streets 704 is the signature event for Partners for Parks.

“Open Streets 704 has been more successful than we ever imagined,” said Brown. “It’s been really popular, and people have loved it, and we couldn’t be happier about that—and to be a part of it.”

Here’s one more great thing to enjoy, and you don’t have to wait until April 28 to try it: The Open Streets 704 Signature Beer is back! The beer collaboration from six Charlotte breweries was so well-received last spring that the signature beers sold out in one day. This year, you can enjoy at least one of them ALL MONTH—the whole month of April at Legion Brewing—and a portion of the sales will go to support Open Streets 704. Has there ever been a better reason to do your civic duty?

Buying beer isn’t the only way you can support this great, bi-annual Open Streets event. Along the route, you’ll also find information for the inaugural Around the Crown 10k, the first road race ever to be run on I-277! Yes, they’re closing the inner loop around uptown Charlotte for a few hours on the Sunday morning of Labor Day Weekend for this race, and all the money it raises will be given to Partners for Parks to support Open Streets 704.

Don’t miss out! Find out all you need to know at openstreets704.com. Then pump up your bike tires, lace up your skates (or walking or running shoes), pack snacks for the kids, and join us! LYNX light rail stations at 36th and 25th Streets will get you there, and you can bring your bike on the train.