Open streets and close Broadway!

Were shutting down Broadway to remind people that our public spaces can do so much more!

The RDA is proud to partner with PRIME, Design Rochester, Olmsted County Planning, and Olmsted County Public Health to support the first ever Broadway Stay & Play event this May 18th from 12:00 to 5:00pm. This free event open to the public will close the 300 Block of S Broadway for a family-friendly, healthy and active living festival.

The event is being modeled after the national Open Streets and Play Streets initiatives (, and the RDA has applied for and received a grant from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota for funding a portion of the event.

Broadway Stay & Play: A Street for People

Broadway, cutting through the heart of downtown Rochester, is currently designed and operated as a barrier to our goal to be an unique, vibrant, urban experience – a central gathering place – for the community that is attractive, inviting, fun and livable. However, Broadway Stay & Play will provide an opportunity to bring residents, neighborhoods, businesses, and organizations together, interacting and viewing downtown Rochester–and our main street in particular–through a fresh lens. It will be an opportunity to re-imagine Broadway, which has been a MNDoT funded and designed highway for years but is now in the control of the City of Rochester. Broadway Stay & Play facilitates an opportunity for participants to experience streets made for people, the way they were always intended to be. This free, centrally located event will encourage physical activity by providing a safe venue for walking, bicycling, running, dancing, and multi-generational activities. Furthermore, by including participants in real life design mock ups of the future street, we intend to kick-off open, transparent, and broad community engagement about the eventual re-design of Broadway.

The broader goals for downtown livability are supported by this event by focusing on three main aspects.

1) CELEBRATION of the fact that Rochester has regained control of Broadway and therefore can be in greater control of its design and character

2) EDUCATION on the methods and outcomes of good urban design and intentional street design through an interactive design charette

3) ENHANCEMENT of active and healthy living by demonstration and promotion of lifestyle changes and its impact on livability and wellness

The event will have opportunities for vendors who can provide food and drinks with the stipulation that there is a healthy option. The event also must remain “No Smoking” to comply with the grant. If you are interested in being a vendor, or in advertising or sponsorship opportunities, please contact Gabriel Yeager ( to sign up. The RDA will be encouraging all business owners along Broadway (the 300 Block in particular) to remain open on this Sunday afternoon to promote the economic benefits of good street design.

Members of the planning group will be walking around the 300 Block business and property owners soon to distribute permission/consent forms.

We are excited at the prospect of reclaiming a portion of Broadway, albeit for an afternoon, and to begin the conversation about how we want our principal downtown artery to function in the future. Have a great day!

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