I'll admit, I've never heard of such a concept before but I absolutely love this idea! In a recent press release, the City of Kalamazoo says they're celebrating the grand opening of a pilot "play street" located in the West Main Hill neighborhood.

Growing up I loved to play with all the kids in my neighborhood; we'd go from house to house riding our bikes and gathering our friends to play outside. Although we lived on a quiet street that didn't see much traffic, there was still an ever-present threat of cars. Thanks to Kalamazoo's new car-free play zone, kids can feel safe at play and free to be just that- kids!

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The new pilot program will close off the streets of Peak Road and Circle Street near Jones Park to cars and traffic, essentially making the play street an extension of the park and creating a car-free safe zone for, "children and adults to walk, play, and ride bikes, scooters, or skateboards." I'll be honest, the kid inside me was immediately thinking about taking to the play street with sidewalk chalk!

The pilot program came to life after neighborhood residents expressed concerns over speeding, limited sidewalks, and frequent failures to stop in the Jones Park area. Says the City of Kalamazoo,

The goals of the play street are to create a new place for children and adults to safely play, increase safety from traffic for those playing in Jones Park, and create a joyful activity hub for neighborhood events this summer.

This pilot play street will remain in effect for four months and will serve as a case study to see if the program could be effective in other areas of Kalamazoo. If the play street at Jones Park is successful, it could become permanent.

As of May 26, barricades and signage were scheduled to be installed, closing the streets to vehicular traffic.

I don't know about you, but I would love to see more safe play streets pop up across the Kalamazoo area. What do you think?

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