15,000+ Bicyclists, Pedestrians Come Out to Garden Grove’s 3rd Open Streets Event
More than 15,000 people came out to bike and walk in Garden Grove’s Open Streets event on Saturday.
The 2.5-mile route stretched from Main Street to West Street and had some streets closed to cars, streets with mixed traffic, and a one-mile pop-up protected bike lane.
The route had plenty of activities to choose from. Information booths and zip lines lined Garden Grove Boulevard, which was closed to car traffic in the westbound direction and open toward the east. Vans hosted a skatepark on Acacia Parkway, and Main Street featured live music and performances.
There was also lots of bike/ped infrastructure concentrated in the route. West Street’s one-mile two-way protected bike lane served as the easternmost north-south connection, and artist James Dinh’s metallic flower sculptures with bicycle rims as petals were installed throughout the neighborhood greenway and among the many parklets.
What makes the success of this event all the more unique is that Garden Grove doesn’t boast an overly dense downtown. The city’s downtown is no more than a stretch of two city blocks along Main Street, with the surrounding area predominantly suburban. How suburban? Across from Main Street is a Costco with an expansive parking lot.
The turnout was better than anticipated, according to Kimberly Huy, Garden Grove’s director of Community Services. Huy said that the weather may have played a role in this year’s turnout–in October 2015, it got up to 107° during the event. This year the temperature topped out around 78°.
This is the first year the city took complete charge of planning and coordinating the event. The past two iterations were contracted out to Community Arts Resources, the nonprofit behind CicLAvia in Los Angeles.
Though this year’s city budget didn’t include enough to hire CARS again, it didn’t stop people from coming out.
“I think Aaron (Paley) would be proud of us,” said Erin Webb, a senior planner for the city, referring to CARS’ president.