626 Golden Streets Mission to Mission – Open Thread

Yesterday's 626 Golden Streets open streets festival took place in San Gabriel, Alhambra, and South Pasadena. Photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.
Yesterday's 626 Golden Streets open streets festival took place in San Gabriel, Alhambra, and South Pasadena. Photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

This story sponsored by Los Angeles Metro to remind readers of traffic pattern changes resulting from Purple Line Construction. Unless noted in the story, Metro is not consulted for the content or editorial direction of the sponsored content.

Tens of thousands of people enjoyed car-free streets at yesterday’s 626 Golden Streets ‘Mission to Mission’ event. The five-mile-long open streets festival extended through the cities of South Pasadena, Alhambra, and San Gabriel. The event was produced by Active SGV, working with the host cities, with funding from Metro.

The route was a mix of residential streets – many lined with beautiful mature trees – and commercial areas. Each city hosted an activity hub featuring live music, art, vendors, booths, kids activities, and more. Various restaurants and other establishments along the route offered discounts and specials for Golden Streets participants. Cafes and bakeries were thronged with foot traffic.

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It rained a bit in the morning. But then cleared up, leaving cool, clean air – perfect for all the people bicycling, running, walking, skating, and otherwise making their way along the route.

After the rain cleared, the streets were a little damp, but the weather ended up perfect for physical activity
After the rain cleared, the streets were a little damp, but the weather ended up perfect for physical activity

Readers – how was your experience at yesterday’s 626 Golden Streets?

SBLA coverage of San Gabriel Valley livability is supported by Foothill Transit, offering car-free travel throughout the San Gabriel Valley with connections to the new Gold Line Stations across the Foothills and Commuter Express lines traveling into the heart of downtown L.A. To plan your trip, visit Foothill Transit. “Foothill Transit. Going Good Places.”

  • mettlegear

    I am not a fan of mandatory dismount zones- to me they ruin the idea of a ciclovia, and are the reason why I gave up going to Ciclavia. I know they want to slow people down so that they will spend money, but that’s not what I go for…the dismount zone in Alhambra went on not just for a block or 2, but SEVERAL blocks- I mean, come on. Dismounting should be optional, and one lane should be left open to let riders pass who don’t want to stop. That’s my opinion at least.

  • dexter

    As someone who walks this family event with children, the dismount zones are a necessary treatment to prevent the bicyclists from being complete A-holes.

    It is not a race, it is not even exclusively a bike event. Given the set-up they had with vendors and activities in the street, not having a dismount zone would have been a disaster.

    To borrow your phrasing, you have to dismount for 10 blocks out of five miles and that’s what is stopping you from participating- I mean, come on.

  • mettlegear

    Oh that must have been your kids that kept running right into the path of me and my kids while we were carefully and slowly trying to ride by, without even a glance back from them or their parents to see if it was clear or safe. The point, which clearly went over your head in your apparent hatred of bicyclists, was that these events have gotten progressively less about the “open streets” part and more about the “getting participants to spend money” part…and you should agree unless you were one of the merchants selling stuff.

  • Andrew Yip

    You’re absolutely right we want people to stop, relax, buy stuff, eat, and slow down. Events like this cost a lot of money and requires a lot of sponsors. The event isn’t just full of businesses giving out flyers, they’re local nonprofits, community groups, etc that put on great activities like chalk art, watercolor paint, dancing, etc. Open streets doesn’t mean open for a free for all. Open streets just means that the streets are open to all active modes of transportation.

    When you don’t have mandatory dismount zones, people don’t stop. It’s also a safety precaution. Mandatory dismount zones are in high traffic areas because we don’t want folks to speed through. You probably don’t do that, but that’s a best practice because there have been injuries/close calls in the past. Sorry for all those that do follow common sense, but for the good of all participants, we want to make sure SAFE open streets for all.

  • Joe Linton

    Mettlegear – I think that you’re trying to narrow a complex multi-faceted thing down to a single aspect… these events (like streets themselves) are about balancing a lot of things – physical activity, commerce, young, old, abled, disabled, and much more. I do bristle a little at the proliferation of dismount zones… which I think these events could use fewer of. Though I think they’re probably necessary in some places, though to me they feel a bit top-down controlling – in a setting that could probably be more self-regulating. In two SF Sunday Streets events I’ve been to there were lots of booths along one side of the route (almost all along the route – with no real concentrated hubs) – with no designated dismount zones. People slow on the booth side of the street, or move past along the other side of the street. Plenty of pedestrians and crowds of participants are stopped to watch performances – creating pinch points, which slow down cyclists. So, perhaps instead of dismount zones there could be strategically-placed activities – dodge-ball or Chinese dragon puppets or music or ??? – that would generate friction, which could slow folks down without absolutely mandating a dismount. Even with dismounts, my daughter and I really enjoyed 626 Golden Streets.

  • dexter

    My kid was in a stroller, so I don’t think that was me. The extent to which you have taken my general comments personally is telling and does nothing to address the points I made. So let’s try this again. Perhaps you can respond without the accusations.

    If you are so interested in carefully riding by, with a family no less, why does 10 blocks out of five miles bother you so much?

    A lack of respect for other road users is common whether it is CicLAvia or not, so i appreciate dismounts zones because they help protect the pedestrians from the cyclists, as sad as that is to say for an open streets event.

    Parents who are not paying attention make the route less enjoyable for all. People who bicycle a CicLAvia event without the expectation that kids can, should, and will play in the streets, don’t seem to be participating in the right event for them and also make the route less enjoyable for all.

    Cities don’t have to do open streets events and if promoting local businesses is important to them or what they may have heard their residents want, then they have the right to do that within reason. If they had done this for all of the route in Alhambra, I think you would have a point. It was a very small percentage of the route and makes sense if you consider the needs of everyone there that day, not just you what you and your family would prefer.

    Perhaps I’m misunderstanding you, but there is an inherent tension in simultaneously lamenting that kids are playing in the street during an open streets event and that they are moving away from an open streets event.

    I am not a merchant and did not buy anything, though I did appreciate finding a place where my kid could participate in an activity, get a snack/drink, or play in the bounce houses. I don’t think I’m the only one.

    I know many people who want to bike the route feel differently and dismount zones seem to be a pretty effective way of reigning that in for what is a very, very small part of the route.

    How would you suggest the event be designed to accommodate both activities, assuming you agree there is a place for both?

  • calwatch

    Honestly, a single dismount zone in the middle of the route (the others were at the very end) was fine. It was a very walkable route and I saw more walkers than even the shorter Beach Streets event. Nice day to take a stroll too with the overcast weather and the shaded streets. While I do enjoy the shorter events, at least one 10-15 mile CicLAvia or similar open streets event a year would be nice, but I don’t see one planned this year (the Philharmonic one last year was 8 miles and the original 626 Golden Streets was 18 miles).

  • calwatch

    They are learning from the original Ciclavia which Joe was a part of planning. In that event, there were too few crossings and too many bikes traveling quickly. I had a friend who lived Downtown and he had difficulty crossing the street because of the lack of gaps in traffic, which is why Ciclavia later added pedestrian crossing guards to give folks gaps. In the 626 event the density of bikes was never that high, combined with the curves in the Alhambra area to avoid Atlantic Boulevard which also slowed bikes down. Thus there was not a need for pedestrian crossing guards.

    I mentioned upthread that there should be a mix of short and long events. In order to spread the money around Metro is funding a bunch of 3-5 mile events, but we also need a signature 8-15 mile event annually like in the past. I know I complained in this thread about the long events (https://la.streetsblog.org/2017/03/27/ciclavia-20-culver-city-meets-venice-open-thread/) but now I kind of miss them, at least once in a while.

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