“I had a grand time and wish this happened more often!” a participant raved. This was one of many uplifting remarks that were heard along the two-mile downtown Eugene Sunday Streets (ESS) route this past weekend. Volunteers and event goers shared in the joy of being able to play in the streets in a car-free environment. Over 4,000 cyclists, runners, rollers, families, and friends filled the streets to enjoy the largest Eugene Sunday Streets to date (at last year’s downtown event there were an estimated 3,200 participants).
This year’s downtown route was more condensed- two miles concentrated on Broadway - which seemed to heighten the car-free experience by filling the route with participants and easy access to all three activity centers. Music extended this year into the route with the addition of the NOW! Pop up stage on Broadway and Charnelton. The stage hosted poets, a popular magician and belly dancing to the crowd’s delight. Each activity center’s array of diverse music and interactive clinics created three dynamic experiences. Kesey Square buzzed with music, and the local businesses filled up with guests seeking coveted outdoor seating. Red Wagon Creamery reported a 30% increase in sales, and Thomas Pettus-Czar, owner of the Barnlight was pleased with double their normal sales on the day-of the event. The upcycle design T-shirt competition blew everyone away as kids and adults created entire outfits made from vintage Eugene Sunday Streets volunteer T-shirts.
A quick roll over to Monroe Park and the atmosphere was a mix of kids laughing from being soaked in the dunk tank to enthusiasm over giant tricycle rides. Arriving by Bike, and Bike Friday experienced higher than previous number of test rides on their fleet of cargo and Bion-X pedal powered rides. Ellen Currier, who assisted in the kid’s traffic safety garden with Safe Routes to School said it was her best ESS experience yet.
There are always lessons to be learned. We are excited to hear feedback and welcome participants, vendors and volunteers to share their experience through our .online survey. We will use this feedback in preparing for the next Eugene Sunday Streets on September 20 in the Friendly Neighborhood. We look forward to seeing you there!
For more information, go to www.EugeneSundayStreets.org or contact Emily Farthing, Eugene Sunday Streets coordinator, at 541-501-0390.