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Viva SGV Open Streets El Monte & South El Monte Open Thread

Screen Shot 2016-06-08 at 4.31.29 PM

Yesterday Viva SGV arrived to the cities of El Monte and South El Monte. Sponsored by Metro, Viva SGV was the longest open street event in the San Gabriel Valley, for a couple weeks at least until 626 Golden Streets. The 5-mile loop brought a buzz of activity to city parks, wide lane boulevards, and the Rio Hondo Bike Path.

Despite the morning being slightly overcast, families and children filled major community hubs while enjoying the plentiful food trucks, live concerts and bounce houses among other neighborhood activities. The event showcased a variety of street-side scenery ranging from the Rio Hondo river corridor, El Monte Valley Mall shops, community churches, and wholesale supply storefronts.

The open streets event, as expected, was friendly and welcoming to cyclists with free bicycle valet service and bicycle check-up service courtesy of Bike SGV.

As a newcomer to L.A. open street events, the neighborhood street activity and scenery across delighted me at every turn. It was a common sight to see families enjoying popsicles and ice cream curbside outside many storefronts. The route was a 5-minute walk from the El Monte Metrolink station. Streets were clear of car traffic due the diligence of friendly traffic officials staffing each of the 8 intersection crossing points.

Just one 5-mile loop brought a pleasant blend of bustling community hubs, wide-open boulevards, and snaking Rio Hondo bikeways – diverse scenery that accentuated the civic and familial benefits of bicycle-friendly streets across the San Gabriel Valley’s multiple land-uses and landscapes.

On a more personal note, (and a shout out to eager parents!) seeing the route’s many children enjoy the open-streets on a warm overcast afternoon was a pleasant reminder of my past parent-led Sunday excursions to New England bike paths, memories that I still cherish and am grateful for today.

Food trucks lined Arceo Park, providing plenty of appetizing lunch options. Photos by Doug Lewis
A BikeSGV tune-up station surrounded by Viva SGV bicyclists
The El Monte Metrolink station was just a 5 minute walk from the route, which includes the Rio Hondo bike path. Multi-modal transportation in action.
A portion of the Rio Hondo Bike path section, showcasing existing bike infrastructure and its potential linkages with arterial open-streets
People skating and cycling on South El Monte's Rush Street
The Viva SGV event suited the traditional Main Street scale of El Monte's Valley Mall street
Booths at the South El Monte Martin Van Dyke Park hub
The Rio Hondo bike path alongside the elevated railroad viaduct, downstream from Valley Mall in El Monte
While some portions of the route included human-scale walk-up businesses, large portions of the route were industrial wholesale establishments, closed and mostly lacking in character and activity

Readers - did you attend Viva SGV? What were your impressions?

SBLA coverage of San Gabriel Valley livability is supported by Foothill Transit. Foothill Transit has been a leader in sustainable transportation for years. And now they’re committed to having a 100% electric bus fleet by 2030. To celebrate, Foothill Transit is giving away prizes and sharing facts about how their electric buses help clear the air. Visit Foothill Transit’s e-bus sweepstakes webpage to see how you can join in the eco-friendly fun!

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