• Eugene Weekly Loves You!
Share |

Sunday Streets Celebration: City event promotes biking, walking and alternative ways to driving

If you’re nervous about traveling by bike around Eugene, the city is hosting an event that will allow you to navigate some streets without worrying about cars. Now in its seventh year, Sunday Streets will be held 10:30 am to 4 pm Sunday, July 30, with an after party in the Park Blocks from 4 until 8 pm. Also part of Sunday Streets is a nod to the old Eugene Celebration parade. The EUG Parade is at 10:30 am. 

People will have the opportunity to walk, bike, roller skate and try different fitness classes for free in an outdoor environment free of cars.

Sunday Streets coordinator Emily Farthing says the city began holding one event per year and now hosts two.

“In future years, look for more. It is a big event, so it does take a lot of volunteers and people power to put it on so that’s one of the reasons it’s only twice a year now,” Farthing says.

Though Eugene has several bike lanes and paths, feeling safe from cars is still a concern, especially for people who are new to cycling. In EW’s “Bike Dreams,” it was reported that Eugene ranks 12 nationally for people who bike to work, but the number of people who bike to work in the city is only 6.8 percent.

One of the goals of Sunday Streets is to help make Eugene more bike friendly. “This is an event that is out of transportation options because our goal is to provide resources to people like free helmets and bike maps and things like bike test rides in an open space for people to get around and feel comfortable walking or biking,” Farthing says.

For starters, if you’re new to biking getting a helmet is an important first step, Farthing says. Secondly, pick up a bike map and plan out your trip before you hit the streets. “If you’re nervous about going on a busier streets, just try riding the bike path, and that’s good any time of day,” she says. Farthing suggests small steps like gradually riding of the bike path onto streets. “I would even say switching one daily trip or weekly trip that you might take to the store — like route something that you do on a regular basis to see how many miles it is.”

A bigger step for making Eugene more bike-friendly is on the horizon with the adoption of the Eugene 2035 Transportation System Plan by Eugene City Council on June 26. The TSP calls for improvements to bicycle lanes and paths to follow the Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan, which highlights the importance of accessibility to safe bikeways and pedestrian paths because it serves as the only way the elderly, poor and young people commute.

Sunday Streets will kick-off with an all-human powered parade. “We have a lot of entries that are totally bike powered and we’re talking major floats constructed on bicycles so that should be quite the show,” Farthing says.

More than 75 vendors are expected in the downtown core and in and around Kesey Square.

“I think that you’re seeing … that kind of synchronicity of like a perfect beautiful storm of downtown revitalization, downtown programming, great downtown businesses and then the desire for that celebration vibe of years past like the parade, like the late night live music, and I think this event is going to capture all of that,” Farthing says.

Sunday Streets begins at 10:30 am on July 30 and events go until 8 pm. Several miles of streets will shut down from Monroe Park to the downtown Park Blocks. The event is free. https://www.eugene-or.gov/2741/Sunday-Streets-2017 .