Lakers Parade Shows Us L.A. Can Have Ciclovia

6_18_09_empty.jpgI would have preferred more people, but they were crowded at the end of the block.

For anyone that’s so interested in the Livable Streets Movement that they missed the results of the NBA Finals, the Lakers beat the Magic on Sunday and yesterday the city celebrated with a mostly privately funded victory parade and rally.  The Times estimated that a quarter of a million people attended the party, but what was far more exciting to me was the precedent such parades have for the city.  You see, yesterday proved that you can open streets to people by shutting them down to cars and the world doesn’t end.

In other parts of the country, it doesn’t take a victory parade for governments to open streets to people.  After Bogota showed the world how it’s done with their weekly Ciclovia’s, city’s such as New York and San Francisco put their best feet forward with car-free parties on Sundays.  Caltrans officials still gripe about car traffic "problems" created by Arroyofest six years ago, when parts of the I-10 were opened to pedestrians and cyclists, but yesterday Figueroa street and the feeder streets feeding into it was shut down for two miles in the middle of the work day and there were no reports of road rage, no reports of violence.  Heck, shutting down streets to car traffic was more orderly and safe than trying to leave a Dodgers game any day of the week.

So here you go, L.A.  We proved we can "survive" some temporary car-free corridors and even have a pretty good time while doing it.  Given that other cities hold their car-free parties on Sundays, our CicLAvia would be even more painless than yesterday.