A colorful mandala at 10th and Pine and the crosswalk at 12th two blocks away were the focal points of “Streets Alive,” Sunday’s first-time event that brought out throngs of walkers and bikers to 20-square block expanse of the Heights.
Folk tunes on front lawns and colorful bikes filling streets gave life to the suitably-named event, which also brought fire truck visits, corn hole games, water stations, a bike parade, vigorous Zumba dancing, spinning prize wheels, free e-bike rides, and plenty of opportunities to learn about health and wellness.
Photo by Kirby Neumann-Rea
Streets Alive volunteer Amy Harpe stands along a temporary bike lane on 12th Street.
“It really made a difference and we had a great turnout,” said City Councilor Peter Cornelison, who worked with numerous volunteers to demarcate bike lanes on the east side of 12th Street and “bike block,” the heavily-used bike lane spanning the Pine-Taylor-C/12th and 13th grid. The 12th-and-Pine crosswalk, monitored by a crossing guard, was a popular passage point for bikers and pedestrians going between “bike block” and the eastern areas of the Streets Alive route
The lanes were put up Sunday morning and taken down after the event’s end at 3 p.m., but kids and adults had plenty of time to enjoy free-wheeling access to lanes of traffic where cars normally go. June and Pine streets were closed off, providing access for non-motorized travel and numerous activities put on by community groups, agencies and businesses. Street Alive stretched all the way to Wilson Park, where Hood River Valley Parks and Recreation hosted games. Nearby, Big Winds provided free e-bike demos, and other groups promoted events and programs ranging from foster parenting to the Oregon Drive Less Challenge.
And 10th and Pine was hopping, between tours of the Hood River Fire Department truck and the massive mandala.
Photo by Kirby Neumann-Rea
Signs and flags guide a young scooter-rider on Street's Alive "Bike Block."
“It’s the Cat of the Celebration,” said Coral Stewart, 10, who added her whimsical creation to the mandala adjacent to May Street School. Her drawing started out as a unicorn cat and morphed into a pig in a birthday hat before Coral decided on its final name. (See photo on page A10.)
The mandala attracted dozens of children and adults painting the temporary art work, inspired by Mexican folk art, according to artist Courtney Berens, who guided the project along with Stephanie Delgado under the auspices of Arts in Education in the Gorge.
“We’re hoping it will become a permanent inspiration, maybe here, or to be done at some intersection,” Berens said. “We’ve seen them in Portland and other places.”
Street art of its kind is a “traffic calming” device designed to slow down vehicles. “Bulb-outs” at crosswalks are another traffic calming method being considered by the City of Hood River. These “demonstrations” set up in Streets Alive remain in place this week, temporarily, at the crosswalks at 12th and Pine, 13th and C and 13th and Taylor and 13th.
The bulb-outs are marked by orange traffic barrels and temporary lines. They shorten crossing distances for pedestrians while keeping the same amount of space for vehicles to travel.