HAYWARD -- Downtown Hayward will throw its first street party of the year Thursday, and it has something to celebrate -- road work that has caused traffic delays, dust, noise and confusion for more than a year is almost finished.

"We've been in touch with the city engineers, and we're really hopeful that a lot of the lane striping and crosswalk painting will be complete by Thursday on our new downtown loop corridor," said Kim Huggett, Hayward Chamber of Commerce president and CEO.

Final road striping started Sunday night and should be done within a week, said Morad Fakhrai, Hayward director of public works, engineering and transportation. The work will not affect B Street, where most of the party will take place.

The downtown road work is the last piece in the Route 238 Corridor Improvement Project, designed to ease commute traffic congestion in Hayward. Through downtown, the project includes a one-way traffic loop.

The street party will begin at 5:30 p.m. along B Street, from Foothill Boulevard to City Hall at Watkins Street.

The Mission and Foothill intersections with B will remain open to traffic during the party. Volunteers will be posted to help partygoers cross, Huggett said.

"This year, we're adding 'Julian's Jazz Alley' as a venue next to Julian's BBQ on Foothill Boulevard. That will be one of our five stages for bands," he said.


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The theme of the street party is "Hot Salsa and Cool Blues Night." In addition to live music, the event will feature vendors, food, a 100-vehicle car show, two soda/beer gardens, street entertainers, face painters and children's games.

Bands include salsa ensemble Patron at the B Street Stage; Latin, funk and rock group Third Sol in the Blues Garden at Newman Park; rockabilly and old-time rock 'n' roll band Mitch Polzak and the Royal Deuces at the Bistro Patio Stage; and Bad Boy Bruce and the Blues Mob at Julian's Jazz Alley. A band yet to be announced will headline the Buffalo Bill's Stage.

"A great attraction of the street parties is that we're one of the few downtown areas left in the Bay Area with free parking," Huggett said. "We've got 12 downtown municipal lots located right on our event poster and, of course, we're accessible from the Hayward BART station."