Much of Cabrillo Boulevard will be closed off to cars Nov. 2 for the first-ever SB Open Streets — a 2½-mile-long activity zone with yoga classes, live music and family activities.
COAST and Traffic Solutions have been organizing the event for months but just got the necessary permits in August, event coordinator Robin Elander said. Similar events have been hosted around the country in recent years as a way to celebrate sustainable and alternative transportation and public health.
The idea is to get people out of their cars and active — a block party meets public health conference, she said.
“It’s really surprising when people can get out of their house and bike a certain distance and realize it didn’t take them that long,” Elander said. “Biking two or three miles from your house to the grocery store or to run an errand or something really does not take that long and is more enjoyable and better for you.”
Cabrillo Boulevard will be shut down between Stearns Wharf at State Street to Los Patos Way/Channel Drive near the Andree Clark Bird Refuge. A portion of the Funk Zone — the block of Anacapa Street, Mason Street and Helena Avenue — will be closed off as a dedicated art zone with murals and live music, Elander said.
The event is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 2.
Parking lots along the waterfront will still be open, with police directing crossings, but people are encouraged to bike and walk to the event.
Keeping the lots open was key to getting the city’s approval for the event, along with informing the public of the street closures, said Eva Inbar, director of the Coalition for Sustainable Transportation.
There will be about 15 police officers managing traffic at the event, paid for by organizers, and volunteers will help as well, said Kent Epperson, Traffic Solutions director.
Community members will be hosting activities like yoga and tai chi classes, relay races, bike mazes and demonstrations all over, and about 200 volunteers are needed to help organize, put up and take down equipment, and lead some additional games all day, Elander said.
SB Open Streets is trying to raise $5,000 via IndieGoGo to help with permit costs, volunteer T-Shirts, portable toilets, tables and chairs for the picnic zone, and some marketing.
Santa Barbara’s City Council election is right after this event, so the people-powered event will also feature ride-alongs with elected officials and candidates. People will be able to sign up soon for the 30-minute sessions on a six-person bicycle with local politicians.
“We’ll put local candidates and politicians on those and members of the public can bike with them throughout the event," Elander said.
Other cities have much larger areas closed off, but organizers wanted to start with a 2½-mile stretch for the first year.
Click here for more information, or to volunteer.