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Downey Ride & Stride Open Streets Event Open Thread

1:49 PM PDT on May 2, 2016

Downey Ride & Stride open streets festival took place yesterday. All photos Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.
Some of the participants at the Downey Ride & Stride open streets festival, which took place yesterday. All photos Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

The city of Downey held its first open streets festival yesterday. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Downey Ride & Stride dedicated 5.5 miles of city streets to walking, bicycling, skating, wheelchairs, and plenty of other car-free activities.

Downey is one of the cities sponsored by Metro in its initial round of open streets funding. Events in this round need to take place by June 30, so there are a handful of open streets events coming up this month and next: May 15 - CicLAvia Southeast Cities, June 5 - 'Coast' Santa Monica, and two big San Gabriel Valley events: June 12 - Viva SGV and June 26 - Golden Streets.

Overall it was a great event. My daughter and I and her grandparents had a really good time riding and walking the route.

More than any other open streets event I have attended, the route included a number of small- to medium-sized residential streets. For participants, these streets work fine, but I hope that the advance communications were thorough and that the folks whose driveways were blocked knew what was coming.

Plenty of cyclists enjoyed the event. There were also lots of families just out walking in the middle of the car-free street.

The event included a lot of programming. There were hundreds of booths, fire trucks, bounce houses, food trucks, face painting, DJs, bands, and much more. It felt like half the groups in Downey - from churches to investment firms to school clubs to beauty pageant ensembles - were represented along the route. We enjoyed interacting with lots of folks, but in a way it felt almost too programmed; I think it is important to trust that people moving around a city on bike or on foot will enjoy interacting with other participants, and with businesses along the route.

Thousands of cyclists took to the streets of Downey

Compared to CicLAvia events in Central Los Angeles, the attendance felt somewhat sparse. It felt perhaps like a party where food and drink were ordered for a 30 people, but only 20 people show up. Fun for the attendees, and there were plenty, but apparently not quite as populous as anticipated. Maybe if a few of occupants of the booths had moved through through the streets, it would have been better, but maybe I've been spoiled by the huge crowds that CicLAvias draw, and I am just expecting too much.

The time flew by because we were enjoying ourselves. I hope the city of Downey will host similar events in the future.

Downey's open streets included lots of music, including live marching bands and stationary DJs.
Many heavily programmed areas, including the intersection of Lakewood Boulevard and Stewart and Gray Road, attracted large crowds.
This circus tricycle and stilt walker attracted a lot of attention from young cyclists.
The Downey High School Key Club played Janga in the middle of Third Street, and encouraged passersby to fill out a survey about the event.
Picnic tables were set up in the street - across from food trucks.
The food truck area attracted large crowds by mid-day.
Lakewood Boulevard has landscaped medians. Though they look pleasant and serve to control car traffic, at Downey Ride & Stride they broke up activity in some areas. The vegetation is just thick enough to make it difficult for cyclists and pedestrians to cross easily. Above, the programmed area on the right became crowded, while the open area on the left remained fairly sparse.
The route included a few smaller scale residential streets, including Alameda Street. This meant closing off quite a few residential driveways.

How about you, readers? Who attended Downey Ride & Stride? What did you think?

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