The City of St. Louis and Boeing presents the first of four Open Streets events this Saturday, May 1st. This 7-mile long block party, weaving through City streets and neighborhoods from the Old Post Office Plaza to Forest Park, is not only a good way for City residents to make friends – it’s a great way for City, St. Louis County, and Illinois residents to stay fit and be healthy.

“It seems that some of our best public spaces are right under our tires,” said Director of Health Pamela Rice Walker. “We take our roadways for granted – and become all too reliant on vehicular modes of transportation.”

The Health Department is promoting Open Streets as a means to show St. Louisans that it’s not all that difficult to ride from point A to point B on a bike. Residents are also being encouraged to walk through City neighborhoods. The event will provide yet another free, easily accessible form of exercise in an urban area. Also, air pollution continues to be a problem for City residents with chronic breathing problems like asthma. Automobiles are the greatest contributor of ozone pollution. Walking, biking and mass transit not only encourage exercise but help to reduce air pollution.

There’s no fee for Open Streets, no designated start point, and no designated end time. Streets will be closed to vehicular traffic from 8am to 1pm. Participants don’t have to train or prepare to join the fun. Open Streets is equally accessible to everyone – and is a great way for individuals to be introduced to an exercise routine without any pressure or expectations.

“For many first-time exercisers, the idea of running in a marathon – or even a 5k – seems unattainable,” continued Director Walker. “This is an excellent chance for people to see how enjoyable exercise can be. The more people we have out and about, the less instances of heart disease, diabetes, and other health problems our City will have”

Activity Hubs will be located along the Open Streets route, featuring everything from Zumba lessons to bicycle safety tips. Open Streets is suitable for all ages.