Santa Monica will once again close off about two miles of streets to motor vehicles for its second-annual open streets event, COAST, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on October 1.
“COAST invites you to enjoy approximately two miles of car-free streets, including Ocean from Wilshire south past City Hall and Tongva Park, as well as all of Main Street to Pier Avenue,” according to the Facebook event page.
The route will be the same as it was last year when the city held its first open streets event shortly following the grand opening of the Expo light rail to Downtown Santa Monica. The route runs down Ocean Avenue from Wilshire Boulevard when it jags over to Main Street and continues down to the southern border of the city. It also includes the Colorado Esplanade, which runs from the Expo station at 4th Street to the Santa Monica Pier.
“We encourage you to bike, walk, or take public transit to COAST. And remember, you don’t need a bike to participate – just your own two feet!” according to the Facebook event page.
“COAST is a free, engaging, and fun way to explore Santa Monica. Along the route, participants will experience live music and performances, local food, art installations, exciting restaurants, one-of-a-kind shops, and unique areas promoting mobility, art, and sustainability,” the page reads.
Last year’s event included performances by samba dancers, musicians, and even a poet.
According to the Facebook event page, businesses will be offering special deals and there will be several zones, at which people can learn about the various initiatives the city is pursuing to make Santa Monica a more sustainable community.
Last year’s was met with a largely positive response. Initially, some were concerned that the route was too short. In fact, of all the open street events in L.A. County — like CicLAvia — COAST is one of the shortest. Pasadena’s open streets event in June 2015, one of the other shorter events, was about 3.5 miles long, by comparison.
Still, people noted that the length made it more accessible to people walking and led to a more slow-paced experience.
In March, the City Council instructed staff to look into making COAST an annual event given the popularity and success it enjoyed in 2016.
In a report to the Council in March, staff said that COAST could become an annual recurring event, but “its frequency may be evaluated in the future based on an assessment of all of Santa Monica’s annual events.”
Still, some have noted that many other cities host events like these much more regularly. Los Angeles hosts a half-dozen CicLAvias every year. San Francisco hosts six to eight “Sunday Streets” each year. Many cities in Latin America, including Mexico City, Bogota, and Guadalajara, host open streets weekly. Medellin hosts several each week.
That doesn’t seem to be in Santa Monica’s immediate future, however.
To find out more about the upcoming COAST event, visit smgov.net/coast.