Le Tour de 8th Street Festival Promotes Safety, Health and Fun

A sign indicating that bicycle lanes will be installed at the MLK Sports Pavillion and the neighborhoods in between on Saturday afternoon.
A sign indicates that bicycle lanes will be installed at the MLK Jr. Sports Pavilion and the neighborhoods in between on Saturday afternoon.

EL CENTRO — The City of El Centro celebrated its Le Tour de 8th street fair event Saturday afternoon to promote upcoming improvements on 8th Street that will help make the community a safer and more inviting place to walk and bike.

“We wanted to let the public know about certain improvements that are going to be constructed along 8th Street,” explained Angel Hernandez, an organizer of the event with the City of El Centro. “They’re going to start doing that next year around March 2017.”

Le Tour de 8th is a free street festival celebrating active and safe streets for the community to enjoy. It also showcased new biking and walking improvements coming soon to the much-used street.

“We will be building bicycle lanes from Bucklin Park to the MLK Jr. Sports Pavilion,” said Hernandez. “Intersections at Wensley Ave., Hamiliton Ave., and Orange Ave., are also going to get these things called street bulb outs in which the corners are going to stick out onto the road more so they can help pedestrians cross the street easier.”

There were four main activity hubs for the event throughout Main Street. Inside the MLK Sports Pavilion was a health fair featuring information from organizations such as IV Food Bank and Clinicas de Salud del Pueblo. The Sports Pavilion parking lot had a bike repair stop provided by Finish Line and a bike safety information booth sponsored by the Police Department. The Fitness and Health hub held classes by Desert Yoga & Wellness and Snap Fitness, while the Bucklin Park hub held bounce house jumpers, live music, and food booths.

The three notable improvements to be made along 8th Street include bike lanes, parklets, and crosswalk improvements. The bike lane improvements will consist of bicycle lanes being installed on 8th Street between Aurora Drive and Adams Avenue to increase the safety and convenience of bicyclists traveling to Bucklin Park, the MLK Sports Pavilion, and the neighborhoods in between.

Parklets will be a way of creating street plazas with more space to eat, rest, and hang out. All along 8th Street, crosswalk improvements will be installed. Safety features include larger curb ramp areas and pedestrian crossing lights. These features hope to increase pedestrian safety by improving visibility. They will also shorten crossing distance and reduce vehicle turning speeds.

“We’ve seen a lot of people even though it’s kind of warm out. We still see a lot of families, so I think the turnout today was pretty good,” commented Hernandez.

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