Saturday, December 22, 2001

Arroyo Fest bike rally moves closer to fruition
By Jonathan Hollingsworth

PASADENA -- After years of trying to win permission to hold a bicycle rally on the Pasadena (110) Freeway, it appears bicycle aficionado Dennis Crowley is close to succeeding.

His plans, which haven't received final approval, call for the state Department of Transportation to close the freeway from Glenarm Street to Avenue 26 on Oct. 6, 2002 from 6 a.m. to mid-morning or noon for the Arroyo Fest, a community celebration of the Arroyo.

The Arroyo Fest would include an eight-mile bike ride, which would begin at the Rose Bowl and end at the Los Angeles River Center and Gardens. Pedestrians could walk along the freeway from York Boulevard in South Pasadena to Sycamore Grove Park in Highland Park.

The morning would end with a festival at Sycamore Grove Park with poetry readings, music and information booths.

"It is a celebration of the Arroyo as a historical, cultural and landscape feature of life in Southern California," said Bill Deverell, associate professor of history at Caltech and an organizer of the festival.

"Hopefully it will raise awareness of a fascinating spot, its environmental fragility," and help the the community "to be drawn together over a common connectedness to the Arroyo and some of the historical issues it speaks to," Deverell said.

The Arroyo Seco Collaborative, a community group devoted to promoting awareness of the Arroyo, is organizing the event.

Organizers hope Arroyo Fest will inspire an entire weekend of community events. Marcus Renner, a leader of the collaborative, says Sierra Club hikes, Highland Park historical home openings, Arroyo clean-ups and gallery tours are being considered as tangential events for the weekend of Oct. 6.

"We're really excited and getting a lot of good feedback from people," Renner said. "And we're really looking forward to getting it all together."

In addition to uniting the Arroyo community, the collaborative hopes to improve the 110 Freeway by replacing the green and white freeway signs with signs written in a Craftsman font, erecting antiquated-looking lampposts and building wooden fences along the road.

Plans for shutting down the parkway and re-routing traffic on Oct. 6 are still in the works. Diane Kane, an associate architectural historian for Caltrans, says she is trying to broker an agreement between traffic managers and community groups on how to manage the Arroyo Fest.

"We do support the event, but before we close a freeway, we've got to make sure that the cities (along the freeway) agree traffic will have to be diverted on to city streets," said Caltrans spokeswoman Margie Tiritilli. Organizers will have to come up with a plan to manage the traffic, she said.

For more information, call organizers at (323) 341-5093 or e-mail

-- Staff writer Elizabeth Lee contributed to this story. Jonathan Hollingsworth can be reached at (626) 578-6300, Ext. 4483, or by e-mail at