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626 Golden Streets: ArroyoFest Is Shutting Down the 110 Freeway to Walk, Skate, and Bike In

Entering the 110 freeway—originally known as the Arroyo Seco Parkway—at any point from South Pasadena to Montecito Heights is as much of an L.A. experience as eating al pastor tacos on the side of a street or catching a show in the summer at the Bowl.

2:31 PM PDT on June 26, 2023

Photo via CalTrans

Entering the 110 Freeway—originally known as the Arroyo Seco Parkway—at any point from South Pasadena to Montecito Heights is as much of an L.A. experience as eating al pastor tacos on the side of a street or catching a show in the summer at the Hollywood Bowl. Once you successfully do it once, it becomes a terrifying thrill to some and just another day driving in L.A. for others.

A long-dormant community festival wants to open up the iconic three-lane-freeway to walk, run, bike and skate in.

For the first time in 20 years, ArroyoFest, is returning on October 29. This year's event, organized by ActiveSGV, will allow car-free exploration of six miles of the 110 Freeway connecting Los Angeles and Pasadena.

A new report in the L.A. Times confirms that the permit involved to pull off the successful de-vehiclefication of the freeway is a painstaking process involving many organizations, including approval by the Pasadena City Council and a special event permit from Caltrans. Event organizers continue working through local permitting processes to host the upcoming event in the fall. Similarly, it took ten years to pull off that first one in 2003.

ArroyoFest Southern California was a huge success two decades ago and predates CicLAvia, L.A.'s current leader in providing a car-free space in the asphalt streets of Los Angles.

The Arroyo Seco Parkway is the West Coast's oldest freeway. It was originally designed to be a meandering, green parkway that could accommodate about 27,000 vehicles daily. However, today it sees well north of 100,000 trips a day, with people driving twice as fast as it was originally designed for, not including semi-trucks, which are not allowed due to the winding nature of the freeway.

This year’s 626 Golden Streets: ArroyoFest will be held from 7 AM to 11 AM on Sunday, October 29. People will be free to go onto the Arroyo Seco Parkway from just north of the 5 Freeway to the Arroyo Seco’s terminus in Pasadena only for the first four hours. A portion of Mission Street in South Pasadena from the Metro station to Garfield Park will be open to ArroyoFest participants for the duration of the event.

The plan is to close the parkway several hours before the event and reopen it by noon.

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