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Sunday Parkways Chicago

Streetfilms contributor Nicholas Whitaker went to Chicago to see how thousands of Chicago residents learned what happens when streets turn into parks for Sunday Parkways on Oct 5th and 26th.

By closing down over three miles of parkways to cars for four hours, the event allowed people of all ages and walks of life to step into the streets and experience the richness of these neighborhoods in a more livable way.

Spanning from Garfield Park, through North Lawndale and Little Village, participants danced, rode bikes, played games, exercised, walked, talked and enjoyed the beautiful weather.  After years of hard work, the organizers of this even were able to bring together community groups and citizens to put on this beautiful experiment in livable streets. Here is to an even longer and more frequent Sunday Parkways Chicago next year!

 

[intro music] 

All:  [00:08] Sunday Parkways.   

Speaker:  [00:10] Here you go. 

[music] 

Jaime De Leon:  [00:28] We’re having Sunday Parkways for the second Sunday here in Chicago, first time ever, beautiful neighbourhood of Little Village.  And so we’re just out here, you know, enjoying the beautiful weather we’re blessed with and enjoying the streets and, you know, providing an opportunity for families to get out, walk, bike, just having a great time.  The boulevards are closed for about three and a half miles up till Garfield Park, plenty of activity stations along the route.  We’ve got huge skate ramp, basketball hoops.  We’ve got lots of art activities going on, massages.  The main stage over here we have a [unintelligible 01:06] musical group called [unintelligible 01:09] and it’s been great.   

[music] 

Christina Bronsing:  [01:20] This is beautiful.  People from Little Village and North Lawndale, it’s just like black/brown communities coming together and enjoying the day.  Especially for us I think in Little Village, it’s a really young population.  We’ve got about 100,000 people and of that half of them are under 25.  So I mean this is Little Village, right.  You’ve got the skaters out, you’ve got people doing their graf work, teaching the shorties how to break-dance.  It’s really cool.   

[music] 

Frank Gross:  [01:52] I think it’s a great event.  I’ve been working with the Bicycle Federation and the folks from there and the other organisations, and very happy to see that it’s got off the ground this year.  I know they’ve been trying for a long time and it’s a great way to bring the people out in the streets and take back the streets for the people, give the cars a break and we’ve had some wonderful weather, and I love the participation from everyone.   

Rey Colon:  [02:16] Well, you know, this is the best thing since sliced bread, except with this event you get to burn some of it off.  It’s really a way of linking our communities together on a grassroots level, building cultural understanding.  I would love to see the entire Emerald Necklace have this activity take place every Sunday afternoon in the city of Chicago.   

Joe Harrington:  [02:36] I had the opportunity to travel to Gualala with a group to see how they did this event in Gualala.  It was very impressive with what they did, the level of city support they had, and the fact that they were actually able to bring people out to celebrate their neighbourhood and do it in a physically active way.  

Gil (Guillermo) Penalosa:  [02:54] So I think that this is also a very nice beginning.  But I think that it really lacks city support.  I think that it doesn’t make… I think the community organisations should be spending their efforts into helping organise and helping promoting and get more community engagement, and not taking care in so much effort in trying to fundraise to pay the city.  No-one even in the city should pay for themselves.   

Diego Puente Corral:  [03:20] It’s interesting to see how people are working together, volunteers, communities, authorities, public transit, police, police officers, all working together to show that it’s possible to get back the city to the people. 

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  • T.C. O’Rourke

    Great film about a fantastic event.

    This is what the Boulevard system was supposed to be-- a promenade for people and a connection to our parks, not an alternate expressway.

    With the aldermanic support, the organization partnerships and the massive community turnout --in LATE OCTOBER(?)-- why isn't the city of Chicago sponsoring this?

    C'mon Mayor Daley, fund and expand Sunday Parkways for next year!

  • http://None John

    Yes, exactly! C'mon City of Chicago! Let's get all the powers-that-be behind this type of event and make it permanent! Mayor Daley, please go ride your bike in NYC through Central Park on any weekend -- or 10 AM to 3 PM weekdays! You'll see what utter joy can come of redirecting our city's asphalt infrastructure to human-powered, active transportation! Tap into Chicago's creative minds and hearts to maximize such a program!