(Image via Transportation Alternatives)
Summer Play Streets are community organized times when local streets are officially closed to traffic and open for youth to play and socialize. The streets are closed to traffic during scheduled times, such as 10 am to 2 pm on Thursdays in July and August. Play Streets provide more space, out the front door, for active outdoor play during the summer months.
In 2011, the program was added to the PlaNYC strategy to increase access to open space for children during the summer. NYC Strategic Alliance for Heath ran 12 of the Play Streets in 2011 and offered programming such as jump roping, tennis and yoga instruction. All of the sites are located in neighborhoods with high rates of childhood obesity and help to provide play space for many children within a short distance from their home.
Transportation Alternatives (T.A.) and community groups across the city have been very important in the development and success of Play Streets. T.A. will help communities interested in implementing the program with the application process. An expression of interest is due to the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene by February 21, 2012.