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Mid-City Open Streets Event Trades Vehicles For Foot, Bike Traffic On San Diego Roads

Photo caption: Bicyclists gather at Cherokee Point Elementary School in City Heights, the en...

Photo by Bianca Bruno

Bicyclists gather at Cherokee Point Elementary School in City Heights, the endpoint for CicloSDias, on Aug. 11, 2013. A full 5.2-mile stretch of roadways was closed to encourage residents to get out of their cars to be more active and social.

Come Sunday, vehicles will be banned from some of the busiest streets in San Diego’s mid-city neighborhoods. The carless roads will make way for a bike and pedestrian-friendly street fair known as CiclosDias.

“It’s people biking, walking, roller-skating — without any cars on the street,” said Andy Hanshaw of the San Diego County Bike Coalition. The executive director is one of several organizers from various groups that are planning the free occasion.

Hanshaw said the event that stretches from 30th Street to Lincoln and University avenues is a celebration of non-motorized transportation. He said he hopes high turnout will draw attention to the need for better bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure on San Diego streets, key changes he claims are crucial to reaching goals outlined in the city's Climate Action Plan and Vision Zero proposal.

CiclosDias debuted in City Heights in 2013 but it has not been back to the community since. Past celebrations were held in Pacific Beach and Hillcrest.

City Heights Community Development Corporation's Randy Van Vleck said its return to the neighborhood will allow residents to safely enjoy one of the area's most bustling corridors. He pointed to a 2014 report that found the City Heights community planning area has the second-highest rate of collisions involving pedestrians.

“...[I]t gives people a taste of what a safe corridor can feel like," Van Vleck said in a phone interview. "I mean, imagine if you rode a bike and felt that safe all the time."

Van Vleck, who helped plan the first CiclosDias, said the idea comes from Bogota, Colombia, which holds similar functions on a weekly basis. He said bike- and pedestrian-centric events are now held in cities across the United States.

The 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. event features contests, performances and musical acts at activity hubs along the three-mile route.

Photo caption: A map of the route for CiclosDias.

Photo credit: City Heights Community Development Corporation

A map of the route for CiclosDias.

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