Open Streets ICT closes down Douglas Avenue to cars for the day


Victor DiMartino

Papa’s General Store’s parking lot was filled with bicycles instead of the usual cars on Sept. 18.

Instead of the usual sounds of cars roaring past, people walked, biked, skated and ran down Douglas Avenue. Douglas Avenue closed down to cars on Sunday, Sept. 18, bringing a safe environment for pedestrians to explore local businesses on foot. 

“The goal (of Open Streets) is to provide a fun event for people to come out to downtown Douglas,” Matt Martinez, project manager for Open Streets ICT, said. “(People can) ride their bikes, skateboard, walk, skip, whatever, just come downtown and have a day where there’s no motorized vehicles on the route.”

Douglas was blocked off from Hillside to Seneca, closing around four miles off to cars. Local businesses at College Hill such as Papa’s General Store, Ziggy’s Pizza and Dempsey’s Burger Pub had no cars outside their parking lot but were filled with people and bikes.

Naftzger Park was filled with tents of small businesses, local artists selling their work, food trucks of all kinds and a DJ playing music on stage for everyone to enjoy. The main stage was at Kennedy Plaza, where local musicians and dance groups played on and around the stage.

“People should come out, because it’s free,” Jennea Noel, a worker at Wichita Parks and Recreation, said.