Imagine a city in Orange County that's pedestrian-first. Imagine getting from one city to another easily without a car and, when you arrive at your destination, everyone's hanging out on the street instead of indoors. That's what Re:Imagine Garden Grove–an event hosted by Community Arts Resources (the organization behind CicLAvia in Los Angeles), and the City of Garden Grove–on October 10 is meant to give you to get a taste of. A mile of Acacia Avenue will be temporarily blocked off so attendees can experience the city in a new way. The end-goal is to show how low-cost, temporary transformations of space can inspire positive changes in the city.
"Maybe you'll find that Garden Grove is not as big as you thought–that you can actually walk to restaurants," says Community Arts Resources co-founder Aaron Paley. "The city is looking at downtown Garden Grove to rethink the area. And we want people to experience the space through things that are culturally specific to Garden Grove. This is really about being proud of the city."
The event is part of the development of the Garden Grove Active Streets Master Plan, which aims to contribute policies and infrastructure that would encourage more walking, bicycling, transit use, and other non-driving modes of transportation. Alta Planning + Design, the firm responsible for spearheading this plan, will be incorporating citizen engagement at Re:Imagine Garden Grove into their planning process. Paley says cities around the country have been tackling similar plans for the last twenty years, citing non-driving residents like teenagers and senior citizens as potential beneficiaries of such changes.
Though Paley has had experience planning similar events like CicLAvia, he believes that every city has unique needs that call for equally unique planning methods. He explains that, even in Los Angeles, planning is different whenever they move CicLAvia to a different part of the city. For Garden Grove, he and his team have been trying to get a strong understanding of the city's character since they started planning the first Re:Imagine Garden Grove event. "With this city, we wanted to know what was specific to it and would work,'" Paley says. He and his team are particularly interested in doing something on the long-abandoned Pacific Electric right-of-way. "The potential is there–not only for a train but also for a biking and walking trail," Paley says.
At the event, streets closed off for walking and biking will also host ping-pong tables, food trucks, and dishes from local restaurants. There will be various live entertainment acts like Los Angeles' Solar DJs and the traditional Vietnamese Vanguards Lion Dance Group, as well as activities for kids and adults. Unlike last year's event, this year's will go through the evening, starting from 3 p.m. and ending at 10 p.m. To learn more, visit ggopenstreets.com. See you there!