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Escondido latest to join ciclovia movement

ESCONDIDO — Opening the streets to people, closing them to vehicles — that’s the idea behind the Ciclovia movement that began in Bogata, Columbia back in the ‘60s and has since caught on in several cities across the U.S.

And come April 11, Escondido will be the latest city to open its streets to walkers, skaters, bicyclists and anyone else not in a vehicle.

“It is truly an opportunity to get to explore an area of town without traffic,” said Rorie Johnston, president and CEO of the Escondido Chamber of Commerce, which is partnering with the county of San Diego to host the event.

CicloviaEscondido is a free event is meant to promote “A Healthy City — Healthy Lifestyle” and will transform a one-mile loop of Grand Avenue between Escondido Boulevard and Juniper Street into an urban park or sorts.

This will be the city’s first-ever open street celebration.

Johnston said she was inspired by a similar event in Pacific Beach that made her look at what they could do in Escondido to give residents the same experience.

“We hope that it will bring awareness to the fact that there’s more to transportation than just driving in your car,” Johnston said.

They’re also hoping the event will have a positive economic impact for the businesses in the area.

Local businesses, farmers, health and wellness organizations will participate to share healthy living and lifestyle choices available throughout the area.

Johnston said the Chamber hopes to make this an annual event, hosting it in different areas in town to give people an opportunity to understand and see what is available in their own city.

Photographer David Zumaya is asking people to meet at the corner of Broadway and Grand Avenue at 11:30 a.m. for an aerial photo of the event.

The event goes from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.