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‘Center Streets’ to Return to West Hartford This Summer

Center Streets, West Hartford Center. Aug. 25, 2019. Photo credit: Ronni Newton (we-ha.com file photo)

Portions of several roadways will be closed to vehicle traffic so the community can ‘cycle and stroll’ at the fifth West Hartford ‘Center Streets.’

By Ronni Newton

The West Hartford community will be able to “take to the streets” on their bikes, scooters, strollers, or feet as the fifth annual Center Streets block party returns on Sunday, Aug. 29 after being canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are absolutely planning on it,” Center Streets co-organizer Ethan Frankel said Tuesday. While the pandemic continues to have an impact on the community, and the Delta variant has led to a spike in cases in recent weeks, Frankel is optimistic.

Center Streets, which organizers describe as a “block party on wheels” – sans motorized four-wheelers – will be held from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 29. The event, which in the past has attracted as many as 2,500 participants over the course of the day, is family-friendly and intended for people of all ages.

The parts of Farmington Avenue, South Main Street, Memorial Road Extension, and LaSalle Road that form a rectangular loop through the center business district will be closed to vehicle traffic for the duration, allowing participants to ride their bikes, scooters, or walk in roadways free from automobiles.

Sections of the closed roadway will also be available for children to draw with chalk, hula-hoop, jump rope, and engage in other fun games and activities.

The Score, as well as other bands, will provide live music beginning at 10 a.m. through 1 p.m.

Restaurants will also participate, providing brunch specials and some free surprises, and many retailers will be offering discounts.

Now in its fifth year, Center Streets has become a highly-anticipated end-of-summer tradition for many town residents. The event is the signature community initiative of Bike West Hartford, Inc., a non-profit organization that promotes bicycle-friendly policies and programs in town. Like similar events that have popped up in other communities, it was inspired by “Summer Streets,” an event traditionally held in New York City during three Saturdays each August.

The director of the West Hartford-Bloomfield Health District, Aimee Krauss, will provide a final go-ahead confirmation when it gets closer to the event date, Frankel said.

Last year, Bike West Hartford hosted a physically-distanced “slow roll” after having to cancel Center Streets.

Financial support for this year’s Center Streets is coming from Metro Realty and Tenpath Financial, as well as generous assistance from the Town of West Hartford in our happy return after last year’s disappointing absence,” Frankel said. Bike West Hartford is continuing to raise money to provide financial support for this year’s event.

Bike West Hartford, Inc. is a not-for-profit corporation promoting the development of bicycle infrastructure and education within West Hartford. More information can be found on their website. or by contacting Frankel at [email protected] or 860-670-4528, or calling co-organizer Ed Pawlak at 860-305-7587.

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