Car-Free Fun with Sunday Streets
The city of Eugene plans to close Fifth Avenue from the 5th Street Market to Whitaker's Blair district next month for a first-ever city car-free event to promote biking, walking, health, community and fun.
The three-mile "Eugene Sunday Streets" event on Sunday, Sept. 18 from noon to 4 pm "is designed to get the entire community outside, having fun, enjoying healthy activities in Eugene's public spaces while showing how easy it is to get around without a car," according to a city press release.
The city of Eugene plans free live music, fitness classes, hula hooping, dancing and other activities at Washington-Jefferson and Skinner Butte parks along the route and in the street.
Here's the city's tentative route map (subject to change):
Hundreds of cities throughout the U.S. and the world regularly or annually close busy thoroughfares for such walking and biking festivals. Portland's 16th annual Bridge Pedal closes lanes on nine central bridges, including the towering I-5 bridge, and attracted about 19,000 people last Sunday. For the last three years, Portland also has closed miles of city streets connecting parks in five annual "Sunday Parkways" events that now attract about 91,000 people.
Here's a video of Sunday Parkways from BikePortland.org:
More than 40 cities in the U.S. now have car-free street events, many inspired by Bogotá, Colombia, where 70 miles of roadway are closed to cars every Sunday for hugely popular "Ciclovias."
Eugene had a similar "Human Powered Parade" downtown 15 years ago, but the event died with volunteer organizers complaining of a lack of city support. Three years ago, bike advocates pushed for closing a stretch of south Willamette Street for a walking and biking event, but nothing happened.
But now the city appears fully behind opening the people's streets to people. But the event will need lots of people to volunteer to help pull it off. The city is looking for about 200 volunteers.
About 120 volunteers will help control intersections and others will help promote, set-up and clean-up the event. To volunteer or for information contact 541-501-0390, SundayStreets@ci.eugene.or.us or the website.