By Victoria Stevans

Join your neighbors, explore the city, and enjoy free events this summer with 2017’s OpenStreetsPGH.

Instead of cars and traffic, Pittsburgh’s streets will be filled with fitness workshops, community arts programs, and promotions from hundreds of local businesses on the last Sundays of May, June, and July. People of all ages are welcome to experience these carefree spaces either on foot or by bike, get outside, and have fun.

OpenStreetsPGH will hit the Northside on Sunday, June 25 with a the three-mile route that follows the same path as last year’s course, stretching from Downtown’s Market Square, over the Roberto Clemente Bridge, into Allegheny Commons West Park, down Western Avenue, and across the West End Bridge to West End’s Main Street.

From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., this course will be lined with coffee shops, fresh foods, restaurants, and services provided by the Northside’s local businesses. Participants will also be able to enjoy a Puppy Carnival hosted by Humane Animal Rescue, formerly the Western PA Humane Society, free admission at the Children’s Museum, and an OpenStreetsPGH selfie station on the West End Bridge. Attendees are also encouraged to make their way to the Highmark Community Fitness Hub in Allegheny Commons West Park for free fitness classes. There also will be smaller fitness stations with representatives from Pittsburgh’s best fitness studios teaching dance, yoga, and more.

Although some streets will be closed for the duration of the program, OpenStreetsPGH does not demand complete road closure. As a result, there will be two traffic crossings on Federal Street, and three on Western Avenue while the event is taking place.

Before OpenStreetsPGH comes to the Northside, it will move through Downtown, Uptown, and the South Side on Sunday, May 28. After the Northside’s open street event, OpenStreetsPGH will make its way through Downtown, the Strip District, and Lawrenceville on Sunday, July 31.

OpenStreetsPGH is one among hundreds of open street movements worldwide, and is coordinated locally by Bike PGH, a bike and pedestrian advocacy organization, with additional support by the Colcom Foundation. Scott Bricker, Bike Pittsburgh’s executive director, touches on the welcoming, relaxed nature of these events.

“It’s not a race — there’s no start or finish line,” he says. “You can enter the route anywhere along it to experience the free and fun activities.”

Bricker also voices his hope that this year’s new routes will “[get] more people from new neighborhoods to experience the magic of OpenStreetsPGH.”

Route maps and more information on experiencing city streets free of cars can be found here.

Small business owners who would like to get involved with OpenStreetsPGH, click here.