SANTA MONICA, CA- This particular afternoon in Santa Monica, California called for foggy weather, and perhaps a light jacket, but that did not stop hundreds of locals from flooding the streets for the city’s COAST event, held annually by The Community of Arts Resources.
Closing off about two miles of streets to pedestrians, the event cleared roads on Ocean Avenue, Colorado Esplanade, and Main Street, making them free of cars within the streets.
The roads were crawling with locals and visitors, children speeding off from their families on their scooters, young teens quickly skating to their next destination, and adults taking a leisurely bike ride, enjoying the cool Santa Monica weather.
This will be Santa Monica’s 4th annual COAST event, where the event itself “celebrates all the ways people get around without cars”, inviting individuals of all kinds to take part in their “celebration” of walking, running, biking, scootering, roller-blading, and skating. Not only would visitors be able to ride freely down the streets of Santa Monica without cars obstructing the way, but the event also provides activities, performances, and workshops for all to participate in, such as pop-up roller rinks, live musical performances, and bike decorating.
Transforming over two miles of Santa Monica’s streets into a “giant park” for the day not only brings out the fun in having the freedom to roam the streets of the iconic Los Angeles city, but also takes another step towards bringing awareness to a much more sustainable and healthy lifestyle.
COAST is a result of the collaboration of the City of Santa Monica’s Cultural Affairs Division, the Office of Sustainability and the Environment, and Transportation Planning Division, and hopes to continue this project in the coming years, continuing to bring Los Angeles towards a fun yet sustainable mindset.
“If you think about it, it would be much healthier for both ourselves and our planet if we were to bring more awareness towards active transportation,” says Sona Babayan, a volunteer at the event. “Active transportation is the human-powered ability to get from one place to another, like walking or biking, and not using cars to get around. With this event, not only can we bring awareness of how enjoyable and healthy it actually is to go out and get moving in the city, but it keeps us from having to run our engines on gas, keeps oils out of the streets, and less fumes in the air. At this point, every little bit counts nowadays.”
She stands next to her booth spreading information about the event, flagging down pedestrians to survey about improving transportation in the city, and handing out environmentally sustainable products like metal straws, compostable notebooks, and tote bags made from recycled water bottles.
To many visitors, this concept was new, and was an opportunity to have learned the possible impact anyone can make through the simple acts of being mobile. “As a student trying to study civil engineering, specifically in transportation, I never realized how active transportation can change the health of people’s lives and the safety of the city.” says Jacob DeLeon, a Los Angeles local and a newly found visitor of the event.
COAST is just the beginning to creating a better overall lifestyle, generating a movement towards a sustainable Earth, and cultivating creativity within people all over the world. The event has a simple mission, yet in its simplicity, can bring new life to our world: “Mobility. Community. Creativity.”