On Sunday, June 13th, approximately 15,000 people showed up to Lexington, Kentucky’s Bluegrass Airport. However, the only flight they were taking that day was under the power of their own feet.
Lexington’s latest incarnation of the wildly popular and statewide, Bogota, Colombia-inspired Second Sunday initiative creatively made use of an as of yet unopened 4,000 foot airplane runway.
“When has an airport been a health provider?” Lexington City Councilor Jay McChord questions emphatically. “The symbolism of this particular event and the general shift in mentality that Second Sunday enables is incredible. We’ve seen the initiative help state agencies, local municipal officials, volunteers, and advocates work together on issues that must be addressed holistically.”
The brain child of McChord and the University of Kentucky’s Diana Doggett, Second Sunday inspires Kentuckians from more than 100 counties to simultaneously walk, bicycle, skate, dance, talk, and play in the streets together on the second Sunday of October. It’s been so popular in Lexington the City now does it monthly.
But as transformative as Second Sunday has been for a state with some of the country’s worst public health indicators— dubbed “the Kentucky uglies” by the energetic Councilman—McChord and Doggett’s real goal is to replicate the initiative nationwide. Both assert that the Second Sunday model, already being implemented in more than 20 other cities beyond the Kentucky state line, is highly effective at promoting healthier lifestyles and a more balanced use of our public infrastructure. Indeed, several other Kentucky airports are now inquiring about replicating Lexington’s most recent accomplishments.
It gives a whole new meaning to livable streets, doesn’t it?
Mike Lydon is Principal of The Street Plans Collaborative and an internationally recognized urban planner. He is the coauthor of Tactical Urbanism: Short-term Action, Long-Term Change. He works and speaks internationally on smart growth, livable cities, active transportation, and tactical urbanism. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.