Last Friday, Seattle launched its Pilot "Play Streets" program, which will allow residents and schools to obtain free permits from the Seattle Department of Transportation to block off streets from traffic and enjoy the streets as temporary play areas.
Angie Schmitt reports on the initiative: "In starting Play Streets, Seattle is following pioneers like New York and San Francisco. New York City's Police Athletic League actually began running a play streets program a century ago. More recently, First Lady Michelle Obama's "Let's Move!" campaign and the Partnership for a Healthier America launched an initiative in 2012 that has brought play streets to 10 cities in the U.S. and Puerto Rico" by providing $50,000 seed grants to participating cities.
The core concept of Play Streets programs such as the one in San Francisco was to temporarily provide children with space for physical activity, especially to those living in communities that lack such public open space.