City expects 4,000 downtown for Sunday Streets

The City of Eugene expects over 4,000 to attend its third annual Sunday Streets events promoting healthy lifestyles and alternative transportation downtown this Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. This is the first of two Sunday Streets events this summer.

The city will shut down Eighth and Tenth avenues from Pearl to Almaden streets to cars and open them up for people to bike, walk and participate in other alternative activities, according to Emma Newman, the city’s Sunday Streets Coordinator.

“They’re going to be very fast paced, exciting races to watch people whipping around the corners downtown,” she said. “Eugene Sunday Street is to promote healthy and active living by opening Eugene’s biggest open space — its streets.”

Races start at 7 a.m. and include the TrackTown City Center Mile and Rolf Prima Downtown Criterium. Women can race for free in the Women’s Criterium and there is also a children’s kilometer at 11:15 a.m.

There will be an activity center in Kesey Memorial Square hosting a beer garden, public art unveiling, obstacle course and pedal-powered music from local bands.

“You get to see how the music is being made right there,” said Newman. “It’s a really fun event. You should come out.”

At Monroe Park, there will be a bicycle expo with free classes, more music and races.

The goal is to “use the public spaces of our streets to get around and experience that. We’re hoping that transfers to people’s everyday lives,” Newman said.

New businesses downtown may give out samples and participate as well.

“There’s some businesses that have taken the steps to engage with the event even more but were looking to connect with local businesses just in general,” Newman said.

Shane MacRhodes attended last year’s Sunday Streets events and said it was a huge hit with children.

“We had a girl who had forgotten her bike but we actually loaned her one,” the Safe Routes To School program manager at the 4J School District said. “I heard from her mom that she loved the bike so much that she saved the money from garage sales and bought the bike.”

For MacRhodes, the best part is seeing people outside, rediscovering the fun he had being a kid and growing up riding bikes.

“I just loved seeing all the people in the streets sort of utilizing our public space in a completely different way and people connecting with their neighbors and parks in a completely different way,” he said. “This event is not only fun and celebratory but also starts a conversation about how do we use our public space?”

His booth featured an obstacle course and balance bike race last year.

“They really loved trying those out and I think there were a couple of parents who had to buy their kids balance bikes after that,” he said. “They just rode for like an hour on them.”

The next Sunday Streets event takes place Sept. 8.

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