Operations & Logistics

The information here is meant to serve as a guideline for all Operational and Logistics issues surrounding your Open Streets program i.e.creating a secure route, and purchasing and delivering important goods and services such as signage and volunteer kits.

Please keep in mind that every city is different!

While every city/Open Streets program is unique, and each season may include a different number of program dates, the timeline remains similar in the months leading up to the first program date. We hope this tool will assist you to plan and prioritize for those basics.

Deciding on the number of program dates for your Open Streets season

Keep in mind that once initial logistics are figured out for first program date, the cost per date goes down with each successive date, (there is an economy of scale working in your favour here) so why not do as many as possible in the first year! Doing only one program date is risky and not recommended.

Rationale for multiple program dates:

  • You want to send the message right from the get-go that you are building a health program, not an event. You are trying to provide your community with a consistent opportunity to get active. 
  • Open Streets grows through word-of mouth. You need multiple dates to make the most of the enthusiasm and excitement people will have by participating in your program. 
  • You are at the mercy of the weather. One rainy day could really hurt your chances of making the case for your program in the future.
  • Multiple program dates provide an opporunity to make improvements and iron out any kinks as you go - you want to leave people with the best possible impression.


Below is a 'best-case scenario' timeline.  Keep in mind you may have much more time, or much less time, than described below due to a number of variables: You may not have your route solidified until a couple of months before; you may be holding your breath for funding until a few weeks before; or, you may not officially receive your street closure permit until just days before. In these cases, it's normal to worry, but do not panic! The MOST important things are:

  • You need a safe and secure route 
  • And you need people on it (For more information on this check out our marketing tool!)

Working towards your first program date: Logistics and Operations

Click to expand each section below

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  • In Advance Open or Close


    • Finalize route plan
    • Start traffic management plan. Example coming soon
    • Contact your local municipally and authorities (police, EMS, fire) to determine necessary permits and plans required for your program.
    • Submit Permits (This may include special event permits, road closure permit, park permits etc.)  
    • Develop volunteer plan—they play a key role in your traffic management strategy.

    Launch call for volunteers 

    Source program materials which may include:

    • Volunteer uniforms, T-Shirts, etc.
    • Signage and banners (*Tip: when possible, keep your signs and banners generic (ie. No dates) so that they can be re-used for future program dates.  Also limit numbers of signage and banners to simplify set-up and take-down.) 
    • Barricade tape, zip ties, zip tie cutters
    • Radios/walkie-talkies (rent or purchase)
    • Storage Tubs and/or large bags for delivery of materials during program dates
    • Volunteer materials (water, snacks)
    • A company to conduct the road closure or source barricades, road closure signs, and people to set up the road closure on the day of the program.  (*Tip: some programs have purchased their own barricades, which is a large upfront cost but will lower the costs of the program over time.  They are then renting them to other street closure events to generate funds for the open streets program.)

    Source, if necessary (these will increase the expense of the program, so you may want to think creatively about how to lower the costs of each item):

    • Towing companies (for vehicles parked on the route)

    • A tent (or trailer), table, and chairs to centralize your team on the program day (rentals or purchase)
    • Private EMS service/security service if necessary. 
    • Portable toilets (can you find businesses along the route that would be willing to advertise their washrooms to participants?)
    • Water re-fill station (can you find businesses along the route that would be willing to advertise that participants could fill a water bottle there?)

    • Order/purchase all necessary materials and signage
    • Select volunteers and assign them tasks
    • Develop signage and material drop-off strategy. (We recommend identifying pick-up/drop off locations along the route that correspond with your route sections identified in your volunteer plan.)
    • Identify drivers for signage and material drop-off. 
    • Identify Operational Support staff (people who will support operations and troubleshooting day-of. We recommend dividing the route in segments which each person will oversee) 
    • Develop draft day-of Operations plan in collaboration with Operation Support staff.
    • Optional but recommended:  Develop a plan for Volunteer Appreciation (i.e. After Party)

    • Volunteer training
    • Inventory and organize purchased materials: Organize your materials by drop-off locations/route segments. Mark everything clearly.
    • Check-in with volunteers, drivers, police, EMS, municipality 
    • Review day-of operations plan with Operations Support 
    • Identify parking location for delivery vehicles
    • Confirm meeting locations for your team
    • Send out written instructions and important contact information to relevant parties (i.e. Drivers, Volunteers, Support staff etc.)
    • If possible/necessary, put up signage for advanced warning of road-closure 

    • Review day-of plan with your team 
    • Charge walkie talkies. Tune to correct station and test transmission with team members. 
    • Check that everyone has written instructions and important contact information. 
    • Pack volunteer kits (you'll have to do this the day before if your kit includes a healthy snack such as fresh fruit/food, which we recommend to keep everyone energized and happy!) 
    • Double-check signage and materials 
    • Load truck/van
    • Bag parking meters and put up no parking signs (or hire someone)
    • Drop-off barricades and road closure signage (or hire someone) 
  • Event Day Open or Close

    Event Day Operations Chart




    • Meet your team and support people at a central location 
    • Check that all your radios/walkie-talkies work
    • Review material and signage drop-off strategy with driver(s)
    • Begin material and signage drop-off 
    • Check-in with Block Captains and Roving Cyclists. Review duties.
    • Check-in with road-closure team/company for status update.



    • Conduct volunteer check-in (this may be done by each block captain for the area they are responsible for) and review position duties
    • Volunteers practice duties
    • Check all ‘soft-closed’ intersections for appropriate management
    • Survey route to ensure it is secure and free of traffic



    • Start time!
    • Continuously survey route for trouble-spots
    • Check-in with Operation Support Staff and Block Captains at least once an hour to offer support, guidance.
    • Take a deep breath and try to find a moment to soak in the moment. 



    • Begin closure preparations (cut down zip-tied barricades, begin collecting materials and placing at drop-off/pick-up locations.)
    • Begin announcement of impending Open Streets ending
    • Check-in with road-closure team/company in preparation for program end.




    • Road-closure team/company begins to remove barricades
    • Road re-opens to vehicles
    • Volunteers begin to remove all signage
    • Volunteers put materials back in kits and place at pick-up/drop-off location
    • Drivers pick up materials and signage along the route
    • Survey entire route to ensure it is accessible to traffic and all barricades have been picked up.
    • Survey entire route to ensure signage and materials have been picked up.



  • Week After Open or Close
    • Inventory all materials and signage
    • De-brief with you team, hired companies, EMS, Police, municipal staff and volunteers
    • Document issues and areas for improvement for your next program date. 

Rinse and Repeat! Repeat! Repeat! (In Advance, Day Of, Week After)