Santa Cruz Good Times

Friday
Jan 30th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Auto Immune

news openOpen Streets takes over Capitola this weekend

Over tea at the new Midtown Cafe, Saskia Lucas and I are chatting about Open Streets. The founder and director of Open Streets Santa Cruz County, Lucas playfully calls the event a gateway drug.

“At Open Streets,” she says, “the inexperienced, infrequent, new bicyclist, who wouldn’t normally want to take a bicycle ride on the road because of traffic, gets out there and they have a positive experience.”

With two Open Streets events on West Cliff Drive under its belt, Open Streets Santa Cruz County (OSSCC) expands to Capitola this weekend with an event on the Capitola Village Esplanade on Sunday. In addition to seed funding from a Regional Transportation Commission grant and the California Coastal Conservancy, the City of Capitola has come on board as an Open Streets partner. This is, according to Lucas, a big step in the right direction.

For the last two years, Lucas and her team have bootstrapped the West Cliff Drive event with tenacity, volunteer labor, and hustle, paying for everything with private sponsorships and donations. But that’s an anomaly in the broader Open Streets community: more than 80 percent of over 100 Open Streets events across the country are funded with a combination of public and private dollars. A goal of Open Streets Santa Cruz is to establish a strong foundation of public/private partnership. According to Lucas, doing so is necessary to make Open Streets sustainable.

For Open Streets Capitola, the city is providing staff time, permitting, police time, barricading, parking, free shuttles, T-shirts and banners. OSSCC is responsible for program coordination, volunteer coordination and outreach.

Capitola City Councilmember Dennis Norton has been championing Open Streets to experiment with car-free days on the Esplanade.

“There’s no more room for cars in the Village,” he explains. “We have maxed every square foot for the parking of autos at the expense of people space. Everyone has experienced what a nightmare the Village becomes on a car-congested summer day.”

The concept, says Norton, is to see what it’s like to remove cars from the picture for one day. “We have plenty of room for more people if the auto is eliminated,” he says. “More people on the street is certainly a benefit to local business.”

For the uninitiated, Open Streets events temporarily close roads to motorized vehicles and open them to the public. The result is an enormous public space full of bicyclists, pedestrians, kids playing and friends gathering. Originating in Bogota, Columbia in 1976, Open Streets now takes place in hundreds of cities around the world.

In Santa Cruz, we have our own brand of Open Streets that includes people on stilts and in costumes, all varieties of customized bicycles, a bike pulling a couch, music, workshops, resources, classes and more.

Recently, Lucas spoke in front of the Santa Cruz City Council and asked them to recognize the unique nature of Open Streets and consider a partnership. The sentiment she expressed was that the event is broad-based and open to all. Unlike other road closures, which require participants to sign up for a race, or street fairs with vendors, Open Streets is a free event that celebrates the community and beauty of Santa Cruz.

“West Cliff Drive is a precious resource,” Lucas says. “For the city to get to enjoy that space without automobiles for a day a year is something, I think, worth investing in.”

On Sunday, there will be a demonstration green lane, parklets, a bike corral, bike valet parking and a community table. The theme of the event is ocean access and protection. In keeping with the theme, the California Coastal Conservancy provided seed funding, Save Our Shores is doing a street cleanup, O’Neill Sea Odyssey will demonstrate how pollution affects our bay, and the Monterey Bay Sanctuary Foundation is hosting beach bingo.

People who arrive by foot, bicycle or bus can enter a raffle to win a $500 gift certificate from Family Cycling Center. Parking is free at the Pacific Cove lot and the newly opened Lower Pacific Cove lot, with shuttles to the event.

Expanding into Capitola signals a growing up for OSSCC and reflects the community’s enthusiasm for Open Streets.

“It’s a really great situation,” says Lucas. “We’ve got something that’s a demonstrated success and it has a lot of community excitement. How to translate that community excitement into active support,” she adds, “is what we need to work on.”


INFO: Open Streets Capitola takes place Sunday, May 4 on the Capitola Esplanade from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. For more information visit www.scopenstreets.org.

Comments (1)Add Comment
Here we go again.
written by Don Honda, May 01, 2014

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Throwing It All Away

Everybody’s for recycling, right? So why are we all doing it wrong? Our reporter gets down and dirty to uncover 10 secrets that will finally make the recycling process make sense

 

Aquarius Calling, Humanity Rising

Aquarius (11th sign after Aries) is the sign of service—serving one another, building community. Aquarius is fixed air, stabilizing new ideas in the world. When new ideas reach the masses the ideas become ideals within the hearts and minds of humanity. Air signs (Gemini, Libra and Aquarius) are mental. They think, ponder, study, research, gather and distribute information. For air signs, education and learning, communicating, writing, being social, tending to money, participating in groups and creating sustainable communities are most important. One of the present messages Aquarius is putting forth to the New Group of World Servers is the creation of the New Education (thus thinking) for humanity—one based not on commodities (banking/corporate values) but on virtues. Humanity and Aquarius Aquarius is the sign of humanity itself. We are now at the beginnings of the Age of Aquarius, the Age of Humanity (rising). The “rising” is the Aquarian vision of equality, unity, the distribution and sharing of all resources and of individual (Leo) creative gifts for the purpose of humanity’s (Aquarius) uplifting. This is the message in the Solar Festival of Aquarius (at the full moon) on Tuesday, Feb. 3. We join in these visions by reciting the World Prayer of Direction, the Great Invocation.Tuesday’s solar festival follows Monday’s Groundhog Day, or Imbolc (ancient Celtic fire festival) the halfway mark between winter solstice and spring Equinox). The New Group of World Servers (NGWS) during these two days are preparing for the upcoming Three Spring Solar Festivals: 1. Aries Resurrection/Easter Festival (April); 2. Taurus Buddha/Wesak Festival (May); and 3. Gemini’s Festival of Humanity (June). Aquarius and the new and full moons together are the primary astrological influences behind all of humanity’s endeavors. The NGWS are to teach these things, calling and uplifting humanity. Join us everyone. (301)

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Job Insecurity

Woman fights for her job in thoughtful, life-sized ‘Two Days One Night’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Jeffrey’s Restaurant

Why quick and friendly service matters at a local diner.

 

If you didn't live in Santa Cruz, where would you be living?

I would live in Kauai because the water is warmer, and I just love it there. Maureen Niehaus, Santa Cruz, Dental Assistant

 

Clos LaChance Wines

Pinot Noir 2012

 

Striking Gold

A taste of Soquel Vineyards’ five gold medal-winning Pinots