The long-awaited 626 Golden Streets ciclavia paraded down the north side of Huntington Dr. in San Marino on Sunday, Mar. 5.
Thousands participated according to Wes Reutimann, a project organizer at BikeSGV, which planned the open streets event.
“An estimated 100,000 participants attended at least part of the 18+ mile long event, with thousands of people on foot, bike, and skate traversing the 3-mile segment within the City of San Marino,” said Reutimann, a San Marino High School grad.
He continued, “In light of the ominous forecast all week, the BikeSGV planning team was thrilled that thousands of local residents and visitors, big and small, young and old, came out to enjoy the historic ‘626 Golden Streets’ ciclavia through the heart of San Marino and the (626) area code.”
‘Hubs’ included informational booths, musical entertainment, chalk artists and food vendors dotted the 18-mile route—one in each of the eight participating jurisdictions and usually established near a Gold Line Metro station.
Stoneman School hosted the ‘San Marino Hub,’ which included the Chinese Club of San Marino, the San Marino Fire Department CERT and other organizations. Participants collected city-specific stickers at each of the hubs.
San Marino’s sticker featured a red rail car flanked by palm trees—a throwback to the days when Los Angeles was home to the world’s best public transit system and the Red Car dominated the median of Huntington Dr.
Farther down the drive, Jones Bicycles provided free bike repairs to cyclists and the USC Alumni Association of the San Gabriel Valley greeted participants with the familiar Trojan victory sign and an enthusiastic ‘Fight On!’ cheer. The Tribune found SMHS and USC grad Bill Youngblood at the USC table.
“It’s exciting to see people look at their community at walking speed or a little bit faster, because you see much more. It’s much more social,” said Youngblood.
Excited by the discovery and sociability of 626 Golden Streets, he added, “Most of the people are zooming down the drive at 35 to 50 miles per hour. And they miss the context of community and interacting with people.”
“It’s a great community event to get out and spend time with your family,” said San Marinan Jennifer Rindone, who was wearing her cardinal and gold USC jacket.
San Marino Police officers maintained several soft closures at intersections along the drive.
“The San Mario Police Department was very pleased with the event,” said Police Chief John Incontro. “We found families young and old all enjoying this opportunity to participate in the event. With the assistance of 626 volunteers and California Conservation Corps members, the San Marino Police Department was able to handle the event. We had very few complaints about the traffic and lots of thanks from the participants.”
“Event organizers have yet to debrief with City staff and public safety officials, but there appear to have been no major safety issues during the event, which ran relatively smoothly for a first-time production,” he said, noting some logistical issues.
Reutimann added, “Delivery of lunch for the over 500 event-day volunteers was delayed to the San Marino activity hub. Additional route signage would have been helpful at certain junctions. Nevertheless, feedback from event participants was generally positive, in spite of the cool weather and wet and windy conditions.”
Sunday’s inaugural San Gabriel Valley ciclavia may have been a test case for a second open streets event in this area.
“Looking forward, the 626 planning team will be gathering economic impact data for businesses along the route, analyzing data from hundreds of surveys gathered from participants at each of the 8 event hubs, and soliciting feedback from participating agencies and jurisdictions,” Reutimann explained.
“In the meantime, we encourage everyone who enjoyed the event to be sure to check out the calendar of upcoming ciclavias across Southern California, including Mar. 26 in Venice and Apr. 29 in Long Beach,” he added.
For more information about future open streets events, visit 626goldenstreets.com.