What if Boston closed some streets to traffic on certain days in the summertime, giving pedestrians free rein to roam among the shops and restaurants?
It turns out, city officials are wondering the same thing.
During a “Twitter chat” Wednesday with Mayor Martin J. Walsh, where the mayor answers constituents’ questions on social media, a city official gave an intriguing response to one person’s question about whether Boston would ever limit traffic on certain streets to allow for a pedestrian takeover.
“How about closing streets like Newbury, Union, and Hanover to traffic on certain days in the Summer?” asked Adam Castiglioni, who runs a blog about Boston hospitality.
The city responded by saying the concept was already on their radar.
“We’re actively looking into this at several locations around the city. Stay tuned for [information] later this summer,” t he City of Boston Twitter account replied. Walsh’s Twitter account did not respond.
In Paris, Mayor Anne Hidalgo has committed to banning cars from the city’s Champs-Elysees for one day per month, according to NBC News. The idea has been welcomed by both residents and visitors.
Closer to home, Memorial Drive in Cambridge is closed to traffic on most Sundays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., from late April through November. The closure gives cyclists, pedestrians, and runners a chance to enjoy the open road along the Charles River.
Plans for Boston are obviously in their infancy, and there was no indication Wednesday that any type of pilot program would be rolled out this summer.
But some people are already dreaming of possibly seeing a Newbury Street void of vehicles.
WalkBoston, a pedestrian advocacy group, tweeted that “we’re certainly in favor of trying things out!”
In a follow up e-mail, Brendan Kearney, the group’s spokesman, said sections of the Back Bay near Newbury Street could be a great choice.
“WalkBoston is supportive of open streets programs to allow people to be more active and engaged in their community, while also giving residents and visitors the opportunity to safely use one of the city’s largest assets, our streets, in a way they normally are unable to,” he said. “The City of Boston has mentioned that they’re considering pilot locations; we’d love to see this done!”