Councilmember Michael Cacciotti and Mayor Dr. Marina Khubesrian with 626 Sasquatch. Photo by Steve Whitmore

The massive event being led by South Pasadena that will shut down five miles of streets linking three cities for the public to walk, bicycle, skate and use any other modes of fun, non-motorized-modes of transport is finally here on Sunday.

The 626 Golden Streets Mission-to-Mission event that has been publicized at every City Council meeting as well as the focus of many other area public gatherings since the beginning of the year will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. It is the first time this type of tri-city event has been attempted that’s designed to link the central business districts of So Pas, Alhambra and San Gabriel through five miles of city streets closed to cars but open to all other modes of non-motorized transportation, according to city officials.

“626 Golden Streets Mission-to-Mission will invite the public to explore the cities of South Pasadena, Alhambra and San Gabriel like never before,” a city staff report stated that was presented to the City Council at a Jan. 16 meeting. “Connecting each community’s historic central business district, this first-time event will close the gap between these distinct communities by temporarily opening five miles of city streets for walking, bicycling, skating and more. With an overarching Earth Month theme, the event will provide participants with a wide array of opportunities to learn about sustainable living, green mobility, and active lifestyles, as well as sample some of the San Gabriel Valley’s best food.”

South Pasadena is the lead city in planning and hosting the event along with ActiveSGV, city officials said. The city has been planning the event since the first of the year.

Moreover, the City Council unanimously approved accepting a $332,000 grant award from the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority for the upcoming the massive event that is sure to clog local roads to traffic Sunday. South Pasadena has already erected electronic signs along impacted roadways indicating the closures will affect traffic and to expect delays.

“We are very excited to be the lead city in partnership with ActiveSGV, Alhambra and San Gabriel, with grant funding from Metro for this event,” John Pope, So Pas spokesman, said in an earlier email to The Review. “This will be the first open-streets event to link the historic South Pasadena downtown with the San Gabriel mission district. This will be a fun, community event with a message: promoting cycling for recreation and transportation.”

Councilmember Michael Cacciotti agreed with Pope, saying this was the best bike-friendly idea to come before the city in a long time.

“Of all the proposals, dozens and dozens in the county, we got the highest vote, and received over $300,000 to put on an open streets event,” Cacciotti said during the council meeting. “Five miles from  mission to mission, it will be exciting. It’s a great project.”

Moreover, the proposed route connects the downtowns in each city by this five-mile stretch of streets.

“The route will begin on Mission Street at Meridian Avenue and head east towards Marengo Avenue,” according to the city staff report presented to the council at the Jan. 16 meeting. “It will then head south on Marengo and turn east on Alhambra Road. It will then turn south on Olive Avenue, northeast on Woodward Avenue and south on 5th Street. It will then head east on Main Street, turn south onto Mission Drive and finish at Mission Road.”

Over the last several months, the massive event has been the keynote feature of many a meeting around the city. The council was visited by the notoriously elusive Sasquatch in March to promote the upcoming 626 Golden Streets bike-friendly event.

Sasquatch, played by 28-year-old Alex Watts of Rancho Cucamonga, brought a sense of levity to an oftentimes somber and serious meeting committed to doing the peoples’ business.

Avid bicyclist Cacciotti said the 626 Golden Streets will be a great event that everyone will be able to enjoy.

When Sasquatch bid the City Council adieu as he left the council chambers that night the audience erupted into a thunderous applause and well-wishes galore.

The last monthly South Pasadena Chamber of Commerce breakfast meeting known as ShopTalk focused on 626 Golden Streets.

Edward Duong  from ActiveSGV spoke about the upcoming day-long affair at the Lost Parrot Café, 1929 Huntington Drive, as part of that chamber meeting.

In fact, Duong told the gathered business leaders from South Pasadena that people will be coming from all over Southern California to join in this open streets’ event. 

They will be biking, walking, running, skating, and dancing this Sunday. Let the fun begin.

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Steve Whitmore is the editor for the South Pasadena Review. Steve has spent more than four decades as an award-winning print and broadcast journalist with a 16-year stint as the senior media advisor for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. Steve comes to us from the Keene Sentinel in Keene, New Hampshire, where he covered politics and was a columnist.

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