SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (KION-TV): On Sunday, West Cliff Drive was filled with hundreds of bike riders, joggers and skaters for the 8th Annual Open Streets Santa Cruz Event.
The event returned after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Two miles of West Cliff Drive from Lighthouse Point to Natural Bridges State Park were closed to all car traffic. The coastline turned into a pop-up street park for all to enjoy.
Event organizers told KION that they estimated 10,000 residents showed up to the event.
Amelia Conlen is the Chair of the Board of Directors of Bike Santa Cruz County. She was excited to see the community return the event after not having the event the past two years.
"We missed Open Streets," Conlen said. "We are so happy to see our neighbors and seeing families ride their bikes on West Cliff Drive."
Bike Santa Cruz County uses the event to advocate for safer bike routes and infrastructure throughout Santa Cruz County.
The program hosts after school events to teach kids on how to properly wear a helmet and how to ride a bike.
Families showed up in droves riding their bicycles, roller skating down the coastline and enjoying the views of the Pacific Ocean.
Scotts Valley resident Kelly Krotcov has brought her family to the event for numerous years.
"It has become a family tradition," Krotcov said. "It is fun to come down here and have room for our familiy to ride on West Cliff.
The event has become a Santa Cruz staple. Skippy Givens is the President of the Santa Cruz County Cycling Club. Givens always make sure his organization supports this event.
"We really love supporting this event," Givens said. "Open Streets is a great event because it brings awareness to bicycle safety but also showcasing alternative transportation as well."
Bike Santa Cruz County plans to hold a similar event in Watsonville next year. For more information about Bike Santa Cruz County click here.