BUILDING ON BROADWAY
Lorain Better Block street fest to promote safety for walkers, cyclists
There will be a new way to view downtown Lorain on May 19.
Lorain Better Block, a street party showcasing how Broadway could become safer and easier to use for walkers and cyclists, runs from noon to 8 p.m.
The event will take place between Fifth and Eighth streets.
“Things are good; we’re a go,” said Eric Newsome, an event coplanner working with the Lorain Proud effort of the Lorain Historical Society.
Lorain Better Block is a collaboration sponsored by Lorain
“We’re encouraging people, if you’re local here in Lorain, to walk or bike to the event.”
— Eric Newsome, an event co-planner
County Public Health, with participation of numerous sponsors and vendors.
“A ‘better block’ is a street designed for users of all ages and abilities, and it gives welcoming vibes and a sense of community,” according to the official event description.
Participants can expect better crosswalks, improved lighting, temporary bike lanes, improved walkways and more seating.
“Biking and walking are healthy, easy ways to get around,” said Lorain County Public Health Commissioner Dave Covell. “Since more people choose to walk and bike in our community, we need to work together to make sure that the streets are safe for all road users.”
The family friendly event is free and open to the public. “We want everybody there,” Newsome said. “I think the biggest thing right now is to make sure everybody knows we don’t have a backup date. The event Saturday is rain or shine.”
Preparation will start at 4 p.m., May 18, and Broadway is closed to through traffic from Fifth to Eighth streets until 8 p.m. that day.
Planners will use tape and chalk paint to reconfigure the northbound lanes and parking spaces of Broadway.
Cars will can drive through the area on May 19, but drivers should note there will be more walkers and cyclists present.
“We’re encouraging people, if you’re local here in Lorain, to walk or bike to the event,” Newsome said.
“We strongly encourage mobile folks to walk or bike instead of drive,” he said.
Newsome added, “That said, cars are welcome,” with parking on Broadway and Black River Landing during the event.
There will be special parking for bikes and some bicycles to borrow for people who can’t bring their own.
There are at least 32 confirmed vendors and 21 planned “parklets,” or miniature parks created for Lorain Better Block.
There are 16 Broadwayarea merchants planning the Downtown Lorain Shop Walk from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Shoppers and browsers can get a shop walk passport that the store owners will validate.
Anyone who visits at least eight shops and gets their passport stamped will be eligible for a raffle at the participating businesses.
Attendees who want to just sit will get a chance on 16 benches built by Lorain High School students, who cut, drilled and assembled the seats from donated twoby-fours.
The benches are stained brown for a rustic look and some will have a relatively light stain, said teacher Ron Sturgill.
“They sit pretty good for a basic bench,” Sturgill said with a laugh.
“Biking and walking are healthy, easy ways to get around. Since more people choose to walk and bike in our community, we need to work together to make sure that the streets are safe for all road users.”
— Lorain County Public Health Commissioner Dave Covell
Lorain High School scholars Jason Chavez, a junior, and Noelia Mendoza, a freshman, take a break from studying climate control systems to assemble one of 16 benches for the Lorain Better Block event scheduled for May 19, on Broadway in Lorain.