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Music, dance clears city streets

Christine Lee

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Photograph by Nicholas Carr Christina Drobisch, a senior nutrition and dietetics major, serves up a black bean and butternut squash taco while working for the Edible Pedal mobile food cart.

Photograph by Nicholas Carr
Christina Drobisch, a senior nutrition and dietetics major, serves up a black bean and butternut squash taco while working for the Edible Pedal mobile food cart.

Chicoans took to the streets with their boots, bikes and boards Sunday afternoon for Chico Car-Free Day.

Nine blocks of a neighborhood near downtown were blocked off, between Wall and Flume streets from Fourth  to Seventh streets.

At each corner of the area, there were bands, bike workshops and recreation areas for kids and families, said Kevin Killion, social science and environmental studies major and a member of the Butte Environmental Council board of directors. Participants brought their bikes to ride from one corner to the next to explore different activities.

“This event is an experiment,” Killion said. “We’re seeing what would happen if we provide the space to take the cars off the street, what would the people of Chico do? What kind of arts and activities and recreation would they like to see in their city if there weren’t cars?”

The council collaborated with the Chico State Alumni Association to hold Chico Car-Free Day as part of the Chico Experience Week, which runs until Oct. 14.

The event’s purpose is not to stop cars driving through Chico, Killion said. It’s meant to encourage people to rethink how they use the streets in a thoughtful way.

“It’s a chance for people to come together, congregate, socialize, and that’s what we’re trying to recreate here,” said Killion. “An environment where people can have fun, enjoy themselves, take back the streets without fear of being run over,”

Eoin King, a Chico State health science alumnus, said he supported the event’s awareness effort in bike riding safety because of injuries his friends have suffered while riding in Chico.

“We have a lot of cyclists in Chico,” King said. “I think it’s important for everyone to understand the rules of the road including bicyclists and car drivers.”

King was working as a kitchen assistant for the Edible Pedal, a small portable kitchen which travels by being attached to the back of a bicycle.

The project is funded by Cultivating Communities North Valley, a grant from the Chico State agriculture department through the University Research Foundation.

The cart travels to farmers markets and finds recipes to make with local seasonal produce which are then passed on to diners. King was giving out samples of butternut squash and black bean tacos with fettuccine and pomegranates during the event.

Food was only one feature of Chico Car-Free Day. Full Force Dance Company performed, as well as the drum ensemble Wolfthump and local band Wounded Pickup, who have been playing in Chico for 10 years.

Killion said although Chico Car-Free Day is only a symbolic act, it is making a point to take cars off the road to reduce pollution.

“Transportation in Chico is one of our largest greenhouse gas emitters, so in its own small way, it’s setting up an idea for how we could enjoy ourselves without cars,” he said.

 

Christine Lee can be reached at [email protected] or @leechris017 on Twitter.

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Music, dance clears city streets