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Local Group Spearheads Plan To Turn Arroyo Seco Parkway Into Cyclists’ and Walkers’ Haven For Takeover Event

ActiveSGV hopes to hold a second ArroyoFest this October, closing the Pasadena freeway to cars for a few hours and allowing cyclists and walkers to use the thoroughfare.

Published on Monday, February 20, 2023 | 8:13 am
 

The inaugural Arroyo Fest on the Arroyo seco Parkway held in 2003. [Photo by Joan Dooley (left) and Charles Lee]
Picture the Arroyo Seco Parkway devoid of zooming cars, and instead filled with hordes of cyclists and pedestrians for a few hours. 

It might sound like a radical concept, but it’s one that’s been realized before, and a local organization is planning to bring it back later this year.

Back in 2003, Professor Robert Gottlieb of Occidental College took the initiative to organize the inaugural ArroyoFest. 

For the event, the Pasadena freeway was temporarily closed to cars, allowing pedestrians and cyclists to take over the major thoroughfare that links Pasadena and Downtown L.A, The Eastsider reported. 

Fast forward to the present day, and the non-profit organization ActiveSGV is working to organize the second iteration of ArroyoFest, which will take place this October – provided they obtain the necessary permits. 

“This would be the first since the original event in 2003,” said Special Programs Director with ActiveSGV, Wesley Reutimann said. 

“The plan is to close the 110 to traffic from approximately Avenue 26 just north of the 5 Freeway to the highway’s terminus at Glenarm Street in Pasadena. The six-mile stretch would remain open for four hours on the morning of Sunday, Oct. 29 to cyclists, skaters, and pedestrians,” according to The Eastsider. 

Reutimann said the event aims to promote zero-emission and multi-modal mobility, raise awareness about the Arroyo Seco Parkway – one of the nation’s oldest freeways – and educate the public about relevant environmental and health issues. 

“Building upon the original 2003 ‘ArroyoFest,’ this free, family-friendly community event will be designed to temporarily open the historic Arroyo Seco Parkway for people to walk, jog, skate, bike, explore, and connect with the diverse communities that call the Arroyo Seco home,” said Reutimann. 

The second ArroyoFest is yet to be approved by Pasadena City Council. 

“The Pasadena City Council endorsed the event in 2020, before it was postponed due to the pandemic,” Reutimann noted. 

He added that a permit from Caltrans and is also required to host the event. 

“As in 2003, a permit from Caltrans is required to host the event. ActiveSGV, the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments, and the event Traffic Control Consultant have been working with Caltrans to receive a special event permit.”

According to Reutimann, the event route would traverse the same stretch of the Arroyo Seco Parkway as in 2003. However unlike in the 2003 Arroyo Fest, this year’s participants will be able to utilize Metro rail to access the event. 

The route would not incorporate Pasadena City streets, and would be coordinated to avoid other major events at the Rose Bowl, as per Reutimann. 

“As with any “open streets” event, ArroyoFest will not feature a start or finish. Attendees will be able to come and go, stop and explore, traverse as much or as little of the route as they wish,” Reutimann said about the possible second edition of ArroyoFest.

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