Streets Alive! chair, Natalie Watson, right, introduced State Sen. Biss, who said that the most important component of the Main Street event is the effort to establish a sense of community. Photo by Mary Mumbrue

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Streets Alive!, Evanston’s biggest block party, will take place between 1 and 6 p.m. on Sept. 7. Main Street will be closed to motor vehicles from Hinman Avenue to Robert Crown Center, encouraging foot and bike traffic as Evanstonians wander, shop, party and participate in the free activities to be offered.
 
At Hip Circle Studios on Aug. 7, a number of representatives from local businesses and organizations held a press conference. Elected officials, business-owners and members of the media sat around – shoe-less – and listened to the details surrounding the Streets Alive! event.
 
Led by Chairperson Natalie Watson, numerous people spoke on the importance of establishing community and leading a healthy lifestyle, two themes that this event promotes. Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl said this is a “superb initiative,” and encouraged Evanstonians to “bike on our streets and walk on our sidewalks,” adding hopes (in jest) for a similarly barefoot section of the festival.
 
State Senator Daniel Biss said he was glad to be a part of this event. He talked about Streets Alive!’s role in the issue of economic social justice that Americans face.  

The demanding equation “job equals car” is a core issue, says Sen. Biss, and events such as Streets Alive! are important in showing people that there exist available alternatives to owning a vehicle. Sen. Biss said that the most important component of this event is the effort to establish a sense of community. Living in the “futuristic efficient utopia” our country has developed, moving from your “home-box to your job-box in your car-box, all alone,” can tear at the “community fabric.” Sen. Biss said, concluding, that Streets Alive! is a great way to move away from today’s fast-paced, high-tech world.

Superintendent of Evanston Township High School Eric Witherspoon said he believes the fundamental themes of Streets Alive! are the kinds of things kids should
be learning on a regular basis. Dr. Witherspoon said that it is important, too, to
“teach kids to remember life should be fun.” He said the fact that community members old and young will be participating in the same activities during Streets Alive! shows that in Evanston, “we are community; we live lives connected to each other.”
 
Eleanor Revelle of Citizens’ Greener Evanston, Malik Turley of Hip Circle Studios, David Boyce of Evanston Bicycle Club and Janet Beals of Open Studio Project all expressed how thrilled they were
to take part in the Streets Alive! event.
 
Evanston TreeKeepers will be organizing mulching along Main Street during the event and anyone interested in participating may contact Noreen Edwards Metz at designgreenlandscapes@gmail.com. Streets Alive! will include free activities including zumba classes, putt-putt golf and a poetry slam as well as a transit hub where community members can view and show off unique bicycles. Up-to-date news and information can be found at www.evanstonstreetsalive.org.