Huntington Drive will be turned into a migrating street fair for much of this Sunday, June 26, as Golden Streets invites people to walk, run, bicycle, skate or perhaps po-go stick through town as part of a celebration throughout the San Gabriel Valley of the recent extension of the Gold Line.
The event, presented by Metro, will cover an 18½-mile route linking six Gold Line stations, from South Pasadena to Azusa. It will proceed out of South Pasadena on Mission Street, head south on Garfield Avenue along the west edge of San Marino, then turn east on Huntington Drive and bisect town on the lanes on the north side of the broad median. That swath of Huntington will be closed to vehicles and turned into an alternative thoroughfare for much of the day.
San Marino’s enthusiasm for this festival has been fairly tepid to date. “We don’t seem to have the same interest in having businesses and other people wanting to perform, have music and food stands, that some of the other places are doing,” Police Chief John Incontro said.
The City Council, meanwhile, withheld its blessing (and approval) for the event until it was satisfied that the organizers had secured the requisite insurance, a condition that was resolved only last week.
So Incontro and the Police Department will have an implied, two-edged mandate Sunday: try to make certain Golden Streets is festive and safe as it passes through town … but clear and reopen the roads immediately afterward so that the tranquil normalcy of the community can be restored as quickly as possible.
“I encourage everyone to come out,” Incontro said. “… It’s an opportunity to have some fun, take your kids out and have some healthy exercise, ride up and down, and see the city from a different perspective.
“We’re hoping to have a smooth event, a nice event.”
Understandably, residents might have some questions about how it all will work. Here are a few answers:
Question: What portions of the streets here will be closed, and for how long?
Answer: The lanes on the north side of the Huntington Drive median will be closed to vehicles from 6 a.m. until about mid-afternoon. The event ends at 2 p.m., and the SMPD will need some time to clear the roadway of stragglers. It hopes to have Huntington Drive open to vehicle traffic by 3. Garfield Avenue will be closed to vehicles in both directions.
Q: Will the lanes to the south of the Huntington Drive median be coned off to accommodate vehicle traffic in both directions?
A: No. The lanes on the south side of the median will be for eastbound traffic only, just as they always are.
Q: But what will happen to people who want to get to South Pasadena, the 110 Freeway or other points west?
A: The expectation is that drivers will divert onto other westerly routes, such as Monterey Road, California Boulevard and, south of San Marino, Las Tunas Drive/Main Street. In town, Lorain Road could be a busy route.
Q: Will there be opportunities to cross Huntington Drive in a vehicle?
A: Yes. The Police Department will be conducting soft closures of Huntington Drive at several north-south points: Garfield, Los Robles Avenue, Virginia Road, San Marino Avenue, Winston Road and San Gabriel Boulevard. Officers and cadets will periodically hold up the flow of Golden Streets participants and let vehicles cross the boulevard. Drivers will have to stack up and wait for one of these closures, obviously; the delay could be a few minutes.
Q: What parking restrictions, if any, will be in effect?
A: No parking will be allowed along north side of Huntington Drive.
Q: What will the flow of Golden Streets participants entail?
A: Basically anything that is people-powered: walkers, runners, skateboarders, in-line skaters, people pushing baby stroller, hover boarders (though age and helmet restrictions will be in effect). A pack of runners will make its way through San Marino fairly early on, as the Train Run Half Marathon will set off from South Pasadena at 7:30 a.m. For all other participants, the flow of traffic won’t necessarily be one way, from west to east; revelers are free to travel in either direction along the route.
Q: What other attractions are planned?
A: There are a number of “activity hubs” along the Golden Streets route, including one that will be set up in the east parking lot of San Marino High School. It will be open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Here, participants may stop for free water or first aid, and to use portable restrooms and hand-wash stations.
A professional chalk artist will be on hand, and there will be a public chalk zone. Seven organizations will have information booths.
San Marino city stickers, emblazoned with a vintage red car and palm trees, will also be given out free. Those traversing the entire route will try to collect eight city stickers throughout the San Gabriel Valley.
For further information about Sunday’s event, including a route map, visit 626goldenstreets.com.