Ditch the crowded sidewalks as “Open Newbury Street” returns to Back Bay on several Sundays throughout the summer.
A huge chunk of the road, known as a locus for high-end retail stores and restaurants, will be shut down to drivers from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on July 23, August 13 and September 10 so pedestrians can meander freely. Mayor Martin Walsh recently announced the initiative after last year’s successful test run.
“We’re excited to bring the idea back this year, so residents and visitors from all over can again enjoy Newbury Street for an afternoon, free of cars,” said Walsh in a statement. “We look forward to working with businesses and residents to make this year’s ‘Open Newbury’ another success.”
The idea of banishing cars from busy shopping areas was inspired by the Parisians shutting down streets like the Champs-Élysées for a day each month. By opening up outdoor space, people are encouraged to spend more time outside and enjoy the shared public space.
“We set up tables on the street so customers could enjoy our food al fresco, which fostered a greater sense of community,” said Dirty Water Dough Company owner Sam Sokol in the same statement. “Open Canal Street,” announced last month by Mayor Walsh, will utilize the same format in the West End on July 8.
The city encourages that people use alternative modes of transportation such as the T, walking or bikes, instead of driving that day. Hynes Convention Center, Copley and Arlington stations on the Green Line all offer direct access to different parts of Newbury Street. Several Hubway bike locations throughout Bike Bay are another good option for those trying to not use a car.
Parking restrictions begin at 8 a.m. and all businesses and attendees are encouraged to share #OpenNewbury on social media before and during the event.
If you go:
July 23, August 13 and September 10, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Newbury St., Boston, free