Folks of all ages took part in the 4th Annual Block Party on Wheels for a care-free and car-free summer morning in West Hartford Center on Sunday. The annual family-friendly event was expected to surpass last year’s estimated crowd of 2,000 participants.
Many families decided to dust off their bikes and scooters to take a stroll down the street, without automobiles. Participating restaurants offered brunch specials and free surprises. Many merchants also featured discounts and live music was performed all morning.
Gerald and Angela Nadeau dusted off their bikes to come out and enjoy a nice morning stroll.
“I think it’s nice that the town takes a moment to recognize the bicycling community,” said Gerald Nadeau. “I think it’s great we get to teach our kids about safety and getting kids active.”
The goal is to promote bicycle-friendly policies and programs in town.
The fun didn’t stop at riding bikes or scooters, but many families took part in hula-hooping, jumping rope and drawing with chalk.
Maureen Sweeney lives in West Hartford and said the block party is a great way to start teaching kids the rules of the road while on a bike.
“We often come here to ride and it’s a little bit dangerous for the little kids so this is the day that we look forward to when there’s no cars on this street,” said Sweeney. “It gives them great practice to use their hand signals when they turn and it’s nice to see their friends before school starts.”
The town closed traffic on four roads that form a rectangular loop around the central business district: Farmington Avenue, South Main Street, Memorial Road Extension, and LaSalle Road.
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.
Generous financial support for Center Streets is being provided by many local business and residents. Major Sponsors include Autism Services and Resources Connecticut (ASRC), The Residences at Steele Road, and Tenpath. Bike West Hartford, Inc. is working with ASRC to make this year's event accessible and inviting for children on the autism spectrum.
Casey Riccione and her daughter, Taylor, came out for the first time to enjoy the festivities before the last days of summer.
“It’s a safe place where lots of kids get to meet people and play games,” said Riccione. “It’s nice to not have to worry about traffic while riding your bike.”