Garden Grove Open Streets Event Returns for Third Year on April 1

Garden Grove's Open Streets event returns April 1 for its third car-free event. The 2.5-mile route will be open from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Image: City of Garden Grove
Garden Grove's Open Streets event returns April 1 for its third car-free event. The 2.5-mile route will be open from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Image: City of Garden Grove

After a year off, Garden Grove’s Open Streets event is returning on April 1.

The 2.5-mile route for the city’s third open streets event will have a mix of car-free streets, pop-up protected bike lanes, and designated walking paths. The event will also map out routes on which cars and bicycles will share street space on the way to the demonstration bike lanes, a local greenway, and the car-free streets.

There’s been a number of changes since the event started in 2014. This is the first year the city took a lead in the planning and programming of the event. For the last two events, the city contracted Community Arts Resources to do the planning, but this year’s budget didn’t include enough to hire the contractor again, said Kimberly Huy, Garden Grove’s director of Community Services.

The funds to pay for this year’s event come solely from grants, donations, and contractually committed funds, and not out of the city’s general fund. The funding includes:

  • $80,000 is allocated from a contract with Clear Channel. This money is to be used to create community events that draw attention to Main Street and the surrounding area, and to further the Re:Imagine Garden Grove Campaign
  • $65,000 comes from the Southern California Association of Governments’ Go Human campaign, an initiative to reduce traffic collisions in Southern California and to encourage people to walk and bike.
  • $10,000 from the Garden Grove Community Foundation to support its goal of creating events around community building, encouraging interaction between ethnic groups, and promoting healthy lifestyles.
The entire route will be open from 3pm-6pm, and from 6pm-10pm Main Street in downtown Garden Grove will have family friendly activities. Image: City of Garden Grove
The entire route will be open from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., and from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Main Street in downtown Garden Grove will have family friendly activities. Image: City of Garden Grove

The city did not hold an open streets event in 2016 because of concerns about the weather. In 2015, daytime temperatures reached as high as 107 degrees, which prompted city officials to consider scheduling the event for spring. That didn’t give them enough time to plan the event, however, so they decided to wait until now.

Pop-up demonstrations of bike and pedestrian infrastructure will be featured prominently along this year’s route. SCAG is sponsoring a protected bike lane along West Street, from Morgan Lane to Garden Grove Boulevard, and they’ll also be staffing a chalk art sidewalk along Acacia Parkway, between Eighth and Ninth streets.

A shared bike lane along Ninth Street will direct riders toward a pop-up neighborhood greenway, made up of College and Dorada Avenues and Morgan Lane. The greenway will allow cars on it,  but being a low-volume street and already having some features of a bicycle boulevard — signage, street markings — it should be a relatively safe and comfortable route. “The hope is that one day this greenway will connect bicyclists from the Harbor Boulevard Grove District over to Historic Main Street,” Huy said.

Parklets are also common sights at open streets events, although less so when a trash container is involved. A low-profile container built to hold trash will instead be filled with potted plants and used as a parklet, donated by waste collection and trash disposal company Republic Services. 

The city’s open streets event is part of its Re:Imagine campaign, which started in 2013 and aimed to shift the focus of the city’s downtown by addressing land use, design, transportation, and branding issues. In addition to the open streets events, the city went through the process of developing and adopting its first Active Streets plan.