What is a Play Street?
A Play Street makes play spaces by temporarily closing a section of a street to thru traffic at consistent times each week so kids, parents, and neighbors can play outside. This idea is already happening in numerous cities worldwide. (See Other Play Streets)
WHY HAVE A PLAY STREET?
1. To encourage children to play outside by providing them with a safe and convenient space to play right in their neighborhood. Playing outside has decreased over time due to increased technology, safety concerns, and busy lifestyles. Physical activity through play helps children get exercise and learning through play is invaluable. Play Streets provide an opportunity and a space for play that otherwise would not exist.
2. To help build relationships and community within the neighborhood, improving overall safety and neighbor cohesion, helping to create that close community many wish for.
3. To provide additional space for play where parks are not convenient and yards are small by creating this weekly “pop-up” park for all to enjoy.
4. This is also a low cost way to increase Wauwatosa residents’ access to parks! Yay!
A polite reminder: Barricade Monitors and Yale Place residents are not responsible for supervising your children. We ask that all young children who come to enjoy Play Streets be accompanied by an adult. Treat the Play Street as you would any other public park: be responsible for your children, treat it with respect, clean up your messes, make new friends, meet the neighbors, get involved, and play!
CAUTION: We advise talking to your children about the difference between playing in a safe Play Street versus playing in an active, open street with traffic. Please make sure younger kids know the difference of when it is OK and when it is not OK to go into the road. Thank you!
other play streets
Play Streets are already happening in numerous cities worldwide, including Seattle, Chicago, New York, and the United Kingdom, just to name a few. Over 300 streets have been temporarily closed over the past years in England as well as in Seattle and the idea has also spread to Canada and Australia. Tosa is next!
Seattle has successfully been closing streets for play and community for years. Residents say that an unexpected bonus of Play Streets is the increased sense of community that has grown from using the street as a place to gather and play. Their model of resident-run and regulated Play Streets gives the power to the people to create these play and community hot spots!
Chicago has been shutting down various streets since 2012. They have about 90 reoccurring annual individual Play Streets, many in areas with concerns of gang violence. The power and importance of play for children has been deemed more important by the city of Chicago than the potential risks. Play on!
New York City has been shutting down one-way, quiet streets for over 100 years to give children a place to play and to build relationships between kids and the police force. From their webpage:
"100 percent of residents and business owners believe PAL PLAYSTREETS make their communities safer."
One could say that the bustling, busy streets of New York City were the birthplace of this incredible idea.
The UK has Play Streets in many cities such as Bristol, Leeds, Hackney and all throughout London. The University of Bristol’s evaluation of Play England’s Street Play Project found very positive results in health and activity of children as well as increased neighborhood cohesion. You can read the full analysis of their data, as well as information on how they run their program here.
We need volunteers to be Barricade Monitors on Saturdays. Barricade Monitors simply are in charge of moving the road blocks on either end of the street to allow access to local traffic, emergency vehicles, or other cars. They are NOT responsible for supervising attendees or planning activities. If you are interested in signing up for a few hours on a Saturday, the kids will thank you! (and we would appreciate the help!). If you are interested, email us in the CONTACT US section!
Do you want to plan an event for the Play Street? Then do it! It is your park, too! Bring a craft, organize a chalk art fest, decorate scooters and bikes, play kickball or kick the can, have a musical parade, bring cookies and lemonade, whatever! Have fun!!
*** no permanent structures are allowed in the Play Street (bounce houses, rock walls, play ground sets, etc.). The road always has to be able to be quickly cleared to allow passage of an emergency vehicle. ***
we are taking a time out...
In order to enjoy Play Streets in a more sustainable, safe and successful manner, we are going to temporarily suspend our Yale Place Play Street while we work out the kinks and make it better. If you have any ideas of how to make this program more amazing or if you want to get involved in the brain storming process, please contact us!
Play in the news:
New York Times Play Street Becomes a Sanctuary
Chicago Hatch Chicago Kicks of 2017 PlayStreets for Families
Parents The Importance of Play
New York Times Los Angeles Tests the Power of "Play Streets'
Do you have any questions on Play Streets? Want to learn more? Would you like to volunteer? Please contact us!
Interested in possibly starting a Play Street in your neighborhood?
1. Create a letter of intent (what you want, where you want it, when it will happen) and have your neighbors on the street sign it.
2. Email/mail this letter to David Simpson, Wauwatosa Director of Public works and COPY YOUR ALDERMEN/ALDERWOMEN! CLICK HERE for your alderperson's email address. CLICK HERE for David Simpson's contact info.
3. Contact us and let us know you are trying to get another Play Street started. We will help any way we can. CLICK HERE for our direct email address. The more successful Play Streets we have, the more likely this program will stick around!
see also: www.wauwatosa.net/playstreets
Tosa's First play street
Yale Place between N. 69th and N. 70th
Wauwatosa, WI 53213