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Washington Ave Closed To Cars

Washington Avenue to be closed down to cars: Bar central might never be the same again (thankfully)

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Sunday Streets HTX: Washington Avenue to Market Square Park
That last of three Sunday Streets HTX events will take place on Sunday, June 1. Courtesy photo
Sunday Streets on Westheimer May 2014
The previous Sunday Streets HTX event on Westheimer drew as estimated crowd of 20,000. Photo by Rolando Dans
Sunday Streets on Westheimer May 2014
As the temperatures rose, the shaved ice truck was a popular stopping point at the Sunday Streets HTX May installment along Westheimer.  Photo by Rolando Dans
Sunday Streets HTX: Washington Avenue to Market Square Park
Sunday Streets on Westheimer May 2014
Sunday Streets on Westheimer May 2014

Washington Avenue is a lot of things — but walker and biker friendly it's not.

At least for 364 days of the year. But on Sunday, the land of bars, restaurants and traffic jams becomes a haven for pedestrians and cyclists.

Go Healthy Houston will host the last Sunday Streets HTX of its pilot program Sunday. During the program, a major Houston street is shut off to all vehicle traffic. It's all about promoting healthy living, allowing people to use the street for something other than breathing in car fumes.

This is the longest Sunday Street close down yet, spanning almost 2.5 miles, following Washington Ave. from the intersection at Studemont to Market Square in downtown Houston. Vendors, businesses and event partners will have activity booths set up along the way.

Among the wide variety of activities this Sunday, here are some highlights to look out for:

  • Catch the final act of three musical performances at Liberty Station on Sunday, Nick Gaitan and the Umbrella Man, from 1:45 to 2:45 p.m. The Houston band, which mixes a variety of Gulf Coast genres, including country, rock-n-roll and zydeco, is sure to give a yee-haw worthy performance.
  • Evolve Fitness will sponsor workout classes and body compositional analysis on the main stage near Henderson Street and Central Station.
  • Stop by as local artists make live art at the Live Mural Making tent sponsored by Aerosol Warfare. Artists, including GONZO247 who painted the Houston Is mural, will be retouching and revising some of the mural art on the Asakura-Robinson landscaping, architecture and urban planning building on Washington Ave. They will also be providing banner material for attendees and artist to use.
  • Inprint Poetry Buskers, in collaboration with Cite Magazine, will provide poetry on demand featuring Houston poet laureate Gwendolyn Zepeda and poets David Tomas Martinez and Margaret Monahan. People can choose a theme for the poets to write about and watch as the poets type up an original work just for them. The artist will even sign the poems — all free of charge.
  • Grab a bite to eat from Taco Nuts, the food truck focused on serving traditional taqueria food with a chef-driven twist.

Given the previous success of the Sunday Streets events —3,000 people showing up for the rainy April installment and 20,000 people packed the one in May— Laura Spanjian, director of the Office of Sustainability for the City of Houston, hopes to make Sunday Streets a permanent part of the Houston culture.

"Sunday Streets provides health, social and economic benefits, and we’ve hit all three with the pilot," Spanjian tells CultureMap. "Families and residents of all ages are out cycling and walking and getting exercise to improve their health. Residents are meeting neighbors and small business owners they haven’t known before, as well as shopping and eating in new places.

"And small businesses on the route have been very busy on Sunday Streets. It's triple win."

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