Jamaica Plain businesses, residents prepare for car-free Open Streets event

BOSTON — Centre St. in Jamaica Plain is a busy stretch of road, with lots of restaurants, shops and foot traffic. No one can remember a time it didn’t have a steady stream of cars and trucks throughout the day.

But for a few hours Sunday, Centre St. will be car-free between South St. and Lamartine St., thanks to the city’s Open Streets Boston event.

“I think it’s going to be great,” resident Brendan Little said. “I’m excited the city is thinking outside the box, experimenting with different forms of bringing people together in the summertime.”

The route will be closed to traffic between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. and all driveways on the route will be blocked and inaccessible. The city says there will be live music and plenty of space for people to connect with businesses and the community.

“It brings more awareness to the small businesses around here,” said Rudianny Pena, an employee at the JP House of Pizza. “I feel like it gives us an opportunity for people to come in and actually look around even more.”

The city conducted similar closures along Newbury St. last summer and has more Open Streets events planned in Roxbury (Aug. 6) and Dorchester (Sept. 24).

“I think it’s always positive to bring a family to the main street,” said Jessen Fitzpatrick, owner of the Salmagundi hat shop on Centre St. “Of course with having road closures, a lot of people are driving to our store and it will make it a little more difficult for them to get to us. But it will just be a day when you take public transportation.”

Mayor Michelle Wu said there will be a noticeable police presence in Jamaica Plain following the July 4 mass shooting in Highland Park, Illinois that left seven dead and 46 injured.

“The goal is to make it a safe space where families don’t have to worry about your kids running around, so I hope to see everyone come out,” Wu said.

Little said the recent violence in other parts of the country won’t dissuade him from bringing his family.

“As a parent, I’m always nervous about that, but I have faith this is a safe community and that the Boston Police are doing a good job. I think it’ll be okay,” Little said.

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