Over 100 volunteers will be honored on Sunday, Oct. 9 at the fourth annual Ciclovía Salinas. But it’s the age and leadership of the volunteers that is more impressive than their high turnout.
Ciclovía Salinas is a youth-based initiative, spearheaded by teens mostly ages 15-17, seeking to promote a healthy lifestyle, stimulate the local economy and unite the diverse communities in Salinas.
The event closes off 1.5 miles of Alisal Street from Main Street to Sanborn Road to cars for four hours this Sunday, and opens it to walkers, runners, bikers, strollers, dogs, skaters and artists. The schedule includes a 5K race and a chance to check out resource booths from a variety of organizations promoting healthy and active living.
Ciclovía is a tradition that began in Bogotá, Colombia, more than a decade ago, and was first held in Salinas on Oct. 6, 2013. This year marks their fourth iteration with more community support than ever.
The city of Salinas is funding Ciclovía for the first time. While the city has supported the event in the past, this is the first year they’re a funder.
The city has previously done things like waive fees for shutting down the street, trash bins and police. The $15,000 fee for shutting down the 20 blocks or so of Alisal Street alone could have stopped past events from happening, according to Jesus Valenzuela, Ciclovía’s communications coordinator.
But a few things have helped the city get on board as an active contributor with $15,000 this year. Since 2014, city officials have been working on a Governing for Racial Equity initiative, a series of workshops and community-to-government partnerships seeking to identify—and manage—inequity in managing Salinas daily.
“The city just started looking at its systems and policies, and I think somewhere down the line it clicked for them,” Valenzuela says. “They finally wanted to invest in prevention.”
Ciclovía Salinas happens on Alisal Street between Sanborn Road and Main Street from 10am-2pm Sunday Oct. 9. Free. 717-1384, www.facebook.com/events/285404501831315.