How to make the most of your carfree Healthy Block this summer

What will you do on your Healthy Block this summer?
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

The saying better late than never definitely applies to PBOT’s new Healthy Blocks program.

During the pandemic, PBOT prioritized business permits for outdoor dining and paused popular programs like block parties, street paintings, Sunday Parkways and Play Streets.

Now PBOT has reimagined their permit process for street closures and has made it easier for Portlanders to open up streets to support active and social neighborhoods. As a physical education teacher who’s worked on many open streets projects over the years, I’m very excited for this and hope many of you take advantage of these permits.

Here are some ideas to jumpstart your Healthy Block.

Sam Balto and son at Flanders Crossing opening day.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

One minor quibble with PBOT’s Healthy Blocks program: There’s no funding. Asking people to volunteer their time and resources to get a permit and set up their own activities is not an equitable approach. PBOT has given their Healthy Business program a financial subsidy and it would be great if they could help Portlanders offset the costs of making more open streets come alive.

By opening our streets to more than the storage and movement of cars, we can show our children that we are not limited by what is around us. Using street space as a canvas for supporting local physical activity, building community and fostering connections lost during the pandemic will benefit all of us as we move forward!

PBOT Healthy Blocks Program official website

— Sam Balto, and @CoachBalto on Twitter
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