Bicycles, feet, skates, skateboards, rollerblades or other non-motorized means of transportation will be the only things accepted this Saturday at the first Beach Streets Midtown.
Organizers said thousands of people are expected at the event, running from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Nov. 12 along a 2.5-mile stretch of Anaheim Street, from Orange Avenue to Pacific Coast Highway.
Aside from providing a car-free zone, the shindig, courtesy of Metro and the city, provides entertainment, demonstrations, food and more.
“You know what?” City Public Affairs Officer Kerry Gerot said. “People love these… Even if they’re not completely familiar with these, they come out and then they absolutely love it.”
Gerot said the event costs from $200,000 to $300,000. She also said the city fills in the funding gaps, with Metro providing most of the money.
“We also give money to BIDs (business improvement districts),” Gerot said.
Such “open street” events are gaining worldwide popularity and are meant to encourage people to use other transportation modes regularly.
“The Beach Streets events are really great,” Gerot said.
She noted Beach Streets Uptown yielded about 25,000 attendees and Downtown’s, about 50,000. Organizers intend to move the events throughout the city, Gerot said, and for each area to take ownership and get creative.
“They’re meant to be very characteristic of the communities,” she said.
This year, a digital guide has been added to allow users to find points of interest along the route. Beacon Interactive developed the guide, which uses Bluetooth energy beacons to send content to smartphones within a pre-determined area to attendees. Users must have Google Chrome installed as their internet browser, as well as location services and Bluetooth turned on. More information will be available at the “physical web” icons posted at the event.
Major hubs will be at MacArthur Park, 1321 E. Anaheim St. and the Recreation Hub, Anaheim Street and Pacific Coast Highway.
“We’re extremely thrilled to see the Beach Streets movement come to Midtown, because it will highlight the Zaferia district and the great mom and pop businesses along this unique corridor," Third District Councilwoman Suzie Price said in a statement.
Another new item are pro skateboarders Scott DeCenzo, Ryan DeCenzo T.J. Rogers and Kurtis Colomonico leading a skate demonstration at noon at the Recreation Hub, with free lessons throughout the day. Martial arts, yoga and bands also will be included in the lineup.
At Anaheim Street and Obispo Avenue, the Moxi skate girls will give roller derby demonstrations, as well as skate rentals for people to use during the event. Several bands and public participation artwork will be showcased at the Long Beach Transit Administration Building, 1963 E. Anaheim St. LBT also will provide bike rack demonstrations on its new zero-emission, battery-powered buses.
“Beach Streets Midtown is all about fun and discovery,” Fourth District Councilman Daryl Supernaw said in a statement. “You’ll definitely discover a new restaurant or business, and you might even pick up a new hobby.”
An obstacle circuit course skills track will be at the Cross Town Bike Park, Anaheim Street and Walnut Avenue. The track also features a Kids Cross course, with twists and turns, wooden obstacles; pump track; and races with hybrid, BMX, beach cruisers, fixed gear bicycles and FAT.
Contemporary and traditional ethnic arts, including traditional Khmer, Hmong, Micronesian, Aztec and West African art demonstrations, drum and dance groups. Hip hop, street and other dancing will be on hand. Much of the entertainment is from the Homeland Cultural Center.
No parking along the route begins at 6 a.m. Cars parked on Anaheim Street, from Orange Avenue to Pacific Coast Highway, will be towed. Streets will be begin to close at 6:30 a.m., with a hard closure of the route in place by 8 a.m. Select side streets will remain open during the event. The route will be open to traffic by about 5:30 p.m. For full details, visit www.longbeach.gov/beachstreets/about/resident-information/#street.
For more information, visit www.longbeach.gov/beachstreets.
Emily Thornton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.