What Did You Think of Streets For People?

The family-friendly Sunday afternoon Fairfax event had thousands of attendants, didn’t create any downtown traffic issues and was a boon for local businesses. How often should Fairfax have an event like this? Tell us in the comments!


Fairfax town officials and community members weren't sure if last Sunday’s Streets for People event, which closed part of Bolinas Road for a car-free community gathering, would cause a traffic headache downtown.

But to the delight of many, including the more than 1,000 people who packed Bolinas Road from noon to 4 p.m., traffic was not a problem.

“I’m happy to report that during the road closure we did not have any traffic issues. The whole event ran smoothly and did not impact any of the side streets or major streets throughout downtown,” Fairfax Police Chief Chris Morin told Patch. “It was a safe and fun event.”

The police had a presence at the event – because they are part of the community, Morin said - and didn’t have any issues or get any calls about problems at Streets for People. “It was just a good day,” he said.

Fairfax resident Renee Goddard, the Streets for People project coordinator, said she was thrilled with the event’s turnout, adding that her husband pointed out that if the event couldn’t be measured in dollars, it could be measured in smiles.

Goddard said many people were impressed there was so much happiness at the event, even though it was alcohol free. The Fairfax Council had after .

But, Goddard said, the event also brought lots of dollars to local businesses.

“The testimonials from businesses are really blowing me away,” she said, naming three local merchants who said they saw a huge increase in sales, including one who said the sales was similar to the volume experienced during the winter holidays.

Kathleen Carroll, owner of the at 55 Bolinas Ave., told Patch her sales doubled during Streets for People. “It was fantastic. It was really the first event in Fairfax that, rather than taking away business, has actually brought us more business and new business,” Carroll said.

She said at other Fairfax events, people don’t wander too far to see the merchants. “But because this was right in front of the shops, it was such a boon for all the businesses on the block.”

She said four other nearby shop owners told her they also had increased sales.

The event . 



One question everyone has been asking, , on our Facebook page, and directly to Goddard, is “So when’s the next one?”

“I don’t know the answer to that,” Goddard said. It will depend on the Fairfax Chamber of Commerce and others in town, she said. 

She said there are some pieces Sustainable Fairfax needs to focus on before there’s another, such as creating waste diversion and getting the local schools and youth groups involved.

“It was just a beautiful, sweet event. It was all ages and there was a really nice feeling about having the street closed off. Everyone just really enjoyed it,” Carroll said. “It’d be great if they did it once a month.”

Goddard said now she’s working on getting feedback on the event. Let her know what you thought of the event and how often you’d like to see it happen in the comments section below.

“The most positive thing was seeing the way the police, the fire and the business community went above and beyond,” Goddard said.

 that closing Bolinas Road between Broadway and Elsie Lane is a contentious idea, but they have said closing the road would be an experiment to see if the town could realistically move toward a vision of making that stretch of road a permanent vehicle-free greenway.


What did you think? How was it? How often would you like to see it happen? 


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Jessica Mullins (Editor) August 30, 2012 at 04:03 PM
I just hope if Streets for People happens again it still includes dancing in the street and young musicians.
Sierra Salin August 30, 2012 at 04:47 PM
here are me pictures https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150994270856533.410410.639666532&type=3&l=004dbb325f
Elvis August 30, 2012 at 07:59 PM
in many cities in europe and around the world including every city I have travelled in except in the USA there are areas (former streets in many cases) where cars are not allowed. it improves the quality of life and consequently business as well creates a gathering place for the community. I truly feel that part of Bolinas should be closed to cars every day. small delivery trucks could be allowed to pass with spcecial caution without incident. the traffic around the sides streets would not increase so much as to be a burden, parking issues will remain unchanged as many are arriving by bike or foot.
Pam Hartwell August 31, 2012 at 12:48 AM
A huge debt of gratitude is due Renee Goddard for relentlessly pursuing this event, inspiring and bringing together the team to make sure it was done and done right. The team included representatives from Sustainable Fairfax, the Fairfax Chamber of Commerce, the FairBuck Committee, and the Town so that the event could be funded, meet the needs of the businesses and the community as well as consider impacts on safety and travel for surrounding neighborhood. We really did consider every impact and worked to mediate any foreseeable problems with Police and Fire. All of this preplanning made for a great event. The largest cost of the event was rental of porta potties, tables and umbrellas. In order to do this more often, it would be wonderful to have Town owned umbrellas and tables.
Caroline Stephens August 31, 2012 at 06:28 PM
Incredible event bringing together our community at whole and reminding us once again how lucky we are to live in a town that supports events like this! I loved having the retailers out on the street and the cafe atmosphere that some of the local restaurants provided. I hope that we do it on a regular basis and that more fairfax retailers are involved. Would love to see it go into the evening with christmas lights and acoustic music. Great job!
Tim in Fairfax August 31, 2012 at 07:27 PM
You must not live in Fairfax or in the Cascade area of Fairfax. I commute to work in Oakland everyday and the traffic coming home on Broadway and Bolinas is heavy. Very heavy. Closing Bolinas to traffic would only make this worse. The only way around it for us is Napa to Dominga and those two streets are way to narrow for that kind of traffic! I agree that cities with streets without cars is nice but Bolinas is not the street to do this with. Broadway above Bolinas would be a much better option, if at all. The people pushing for this rarely leave town and ride bikes if they go to town. Some of us are not able to have the luxury because we have jobs elsewhere and riding a bike is not an option. Sorry, it just is not smart to close one of the main arteries of our small town!
tony masi August 31, 2012 at 09:32 PM
Oh Jessica, you devious and delightful provocateur! On your Sunday post, hundreds attended this event. On this post, thousands attended. And to inflame my passions further, you remind me once again that this is an experiment to see if this stretch of road should be made into a permanent vehicle-free greenway. All kidding aside, this event appears to have been a resounding success on every level. I would gladly support closing the street to traffic on as many weekends as the local businesses would like. However, as you may have already guessed, I oppose a permanent street closure on this particular stretch of road. But, I would be open to possibilties if I was presented with more compelling evidence to support something permanent. If town officials are serious about this, then close the street for an entire week. Let's see what happens. I'm skeptical, but I could be swayed.
Jessica Mullins (Editor) August 31, 2012 at 09:39 PM
I'm glad you're reading everything so closely, Tony. I didn't know how many people were at the event when I made the Sunday post, but since had time to talk to the organizers who actually estimated closer to 1,500 people attended it (but I just put more than 1,000). Hard numbers aside, it was definitely crowded on Sunday!
Stephanie Clark August 31, 2012 at 10:30 PM
Closing the street temporarily brings the community together where everyone is welcome from the young to the old. It is not a school event or a sporting event. It is an event to see people that maybe you have not seen for a while. An event to go downtown and re-aquaint with the merchants that maybe you forgot about. An event to take pride in our community and support the creative people that make Fairfax special. If someone is willing to organize and support Streets for People financially, I would love to see it happen at least once each season or more frequent if the town is able. Thanks for making it happen Renee. Now hopefully more people will volunteer and step up and it can become a Fairfax tradition and not just a one time event.
Paul Konikowski August 31, 2012 at 11:08 PM
I was totally blown away by the positive energy and sense of community this event created. It was such a family friendly scene, yet still cool enough for teens who could watch their friends play music in a free, safe, outdoor setting. It was not as crazy at the annual Festival. It felt much more local, and social, like the Farmer's Market. I am a Fairfax resident, and everyone I spoke with wants to see it happen more often.
Paul Konikowski August 31, 2012 at 11:09 PM
1500 sounds about right to me
John Ferguson August 31, 2012 at 11:59 PM
Hmm, it seems to be a very small but, for some, very critical artery that would be blocked. Perhaps Fairfax needs a bypass operation! (sorry, I just couldn't resist..)
Ali L. September 02, 2012 at 05:04 PM
I'd also like to see the Mandala become a permanent fixture -- I understand it will wash away. Towns have been trying this and finding it has a positive impact on traffic flow, as well as adding beauty. I was amazed that such a beautiful thing could have been created so quickly!
Jennifer Hammond September 02, 2012 at 07:17 PM
I loved it. It was great to see so many people out, enjoying the town, reconnecting with old friends and making new ones. I think the large turnout showed that people are craving opportunities to connect their community! Yes, let's do more!
Linn Walsh September 02, 2012 at 09:56 PM
I loved the event, especially the bike carousel. I liked that alcohol was not served. It draws a much more family friendly crowd. I live on Dominga and there was much more traffic. Most of which went way too fast and blew through the stop sign. I would support this event once a season, with added Police presence on the arterial streets that get the cut-through traffic. There is no way I could ever support closing this part of Bolinas permanently. This would impact Dominga adversely with an increase in traffic this little, narrow street can not handle. If this were up for consideration, I and my neighbors would fight the efforts very strongly. But four times a year for a few hours is doable. Thanks Renee!
Jennifer Hammond September 03, 2012 at 06:18 PM
To connect with the Streets for People community, and stay apprised of future events, please "like" the Streets for People Facebook page at facebook.com/StreetsForPeople
Jory Prum September 04, 2012 at 04:13 PM
I thought it was cool. It would be great to do two Sundays per month. If it were to become a regular Sunday event, it might be nice if there was a way to shade the street from all that sun, as it was pretty intense beating down in the Tarmac for hours.


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