Visitors to downtown Morgan Hill this past Saturday got to skate, bike, create art, play games and socialize in the street without worrying about being run over or breathing in fumes from the vehicles that typically clog the roadway.
On the morning of May 13 through lunch time, the City of Morgan Hill closed Monterey Road to vehicles from Fourth Street to Main Avenue in order to make way for the first Morgan Hill Open Streets event.
Families walked their dogs through the middle of the roadway while kids raced each other on their bicycles and scooters under sunny skies and mild temperatures. A vendor rented roller skates to children and adults, and various booths staffed by city departments offered games, raffles, face painting and prizes. Near the intersection of Monterey Road and Second Street, attendees were supplied with various colors of chalk to create their artistic visions on the asphalt.
Live bands performed throughout the event area, with the Shand Walton Band playing in the Third Street median and The Soft Lights Band performing near First Street.
The city also hosted a Bike Rodeo course on Monterey Road, allowing cyclists of all ages to test their skills and practice the rules of the road. Firefighters from the Morgan Hill Fire Department gave out hats to young attendees and gave children an up-close look at one of the city’s fire engines.
Morgan Hill Community Services Supervisor Nichole Martin said about 1,200 people attended the Open Streets event, and the city is looking forward to another one next year.
Open Streets: Morgan Hill is part of the city’s Bike and Pedestrian Education and Encouragement program, city staff added. The event was funded through VTA’s 2016 Measure B and city funds.
The May 13 Open Streets occurred the same time as the weekly Saturday Farmers Market on Depot Street, as well as the Sidewalk Saturday merchant market on East Third Street. The combination of events—as well as the popular Depot Park—kept downtown Morgan Hill buzzing with activity well into the afternoon.