Bikes takeover the freeway with Arroyofest

Thousands of LA residents gathered to participate in the 110 freeway shutdown for Arroyofest, promoting sustainable transportation and the natural beauty of the Arroyo Seco corridor.
Hundreds of bike riders on the 110 freeway participate in Arroyofest.
Hundreds of bike riders on the 110 freeway participate in Arroyofest.
Layla Hernandez

While much of the Southern California region population heavily relies on freeway systems for transportation, the cities of San Gabriel Valley, Active San Gabriel and Metro partnered to host the second Arroyofest, shutting down the historic Arroyo Seco Parkway, to pedestrians on Oct. 29.

The festival, which returned for the first time since 2003, garnered mass support as thousands of locals and families from South Pasadena and neighboring cities gathered to walk, cycle, skate or run along a seven-mile stretch.

“The support has been growing,” South Pasadena City Mayor Jonathan Primuth shared, “I saw a lot of our residents participating, which is great. Our city staff comes out and supports the event, it’s just well supported by the community.”

Festivities for guests extended beyond the freeway shutdown with a 10k run and activity hubs located in parks along the freeway in Lincoln Heights, South Pasadena and Highland Park, host to the Lummis Day Festival, an annual celebration of the art and culture of Northeast LA.

As pedestrians traversed up and down the parkway, the soft melodic notes of a piano could be heard alongside the sound of footsteps, wheels whirring, and the buzz of bicycles.

Stationed along the median on the 110 freeway above Arroyo Park, David Cutter, a pianist and instructor at the Pasadena Piano Institute, expressed his passion for sharing music with his community.

“The piano is in a paradox, it’s the most popular instrument and it’s also entering the stage of dying art. The finer points are being lost, and so I’m working to save that,” Cutter shared, “What makes humans human is art, expressing whatever it is, and it’s never been more true.”

The Arroyo Seco Parkway initially opened in December of 1940, becoming the first freeway in the Western United States and a prototype for the LA freeway system.

The parkway was initially designed to be a greenway highlighting the natural, scenic beauty of the region, limiting traveler speed to 45mph.

Though the parkway itself was created to highlight the natural beauty of the Arroyo Seco, Arroyofest seeks to protect it in efforts of environmental justice reform.

Robert Gottlieb first organized Arroyofest in 2003 as a means of emphasizing not only the historical and cultural significance of the Arroyo Seco but the environmental issues abundant in the Arroyo corridor as well.

Such concerns have only continued to scale as environmental crises have worsened, though Los Angeles residents and city officials alike recognize the importance of environmental preservation and public transportation usage.

“It gets me excited because so many people are out,” expressed Samantha Salazar, a South Pasadena resident, “It kind of gives a glimpse of what is possible if people put a little more interest and time into planning out a city that is actually created for people to live well and fully.”

Cities of the San Gabriel Valley have seen widespread advocacy for more accessible public and active transportation. Dave Perry, Transportation Deputy to Supervisor Kathryn Barger, described how through acts such as Measure M, many San Gabriel Valley subregions granted funding for transportation have widely used such funds to invest in active transportation.

Story continues below advertisement
About the Contributor
Layla Hernandez
Layla Hernandez, Community Editor
Layla Hernandez is the community editor for Talon Marks covering the Greater Los Angeles area and its local culture. Outside of the newsroom, they can be found reading, writing, creating art, listening to music, or spending time with friends. Hernandez hopes to transfer in 2025 and travel writing about art and culture.
Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Talon Marks Picks TM Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *