Saturday was cool and overcast day in Bixby Knolls, Long Beach but there wasn’t a frown in sight. “Beach Streets”, an event put on by the city, allowed a long strip of Atlantic Ave to be temporarily closed from cars, instead opening it up for walking, bicycling, and socializing. Starting at Wardlow Rd., Atlantic Ave was filled with families biking, scootering, and skateboarding 5 miles down to Houghton Park while a DJ blasted funky 70s jams.
The event was Long Beach’s own version of (CicLAvia) ciclovía, or “cycleway”, a concept pioneered in Bogotá, Colombia where on Sundays and public holidays main roads are shut down for cyclists and pedestrians. Not only did Beach Streets open up a major street for car-free transport, they also sponsored a petting zoo, art wall photo exhibit, farmers market, and dozens of local vendors for public entertainment.
LA Commons was a participant in the “Art Zone”, a strip of the street reserved for art booths to engage to the public in creative activities. We held an African mask-making workshop, in which children were able to freely paint and decorate cardboard masks, then attach them to their bikes and continue on their way. Lead by Beth Peterson and intern Claire Astrow, the workshop was instantly a great hit, and attracted kids of all ages. LA Common’s art booth was also successful in promoting the upcoming Festival of the Masks, to be held on June 28th. Overall, Beach Streets provided an energetic, positive community building opportunity for the city Long Beach, and LA Commons was thankful to be in attendance of the fun-filled event.