Will L.A. Have Its Ciclovia? Signs Are Pointing to Yes

11_10_09_CICLAVIA.JPGImagine Wilshire Boulevard without cars. Rendering: CicLAvia

For months, a hard-core group of volunteers have been working on a shoe-string budget to bring a series of car-free festivals to Los Angeles based on the weekly Ciclovias of Bogota, Colombia.  Thanks to a series of high profile news stories in the Times and ABC News highlighting the continued work of the CicLAvia volunteers, the Mayor’s office is saying we could see a series of these car free parties starting in the Spring of 2010.

For the uninitiated, the city of Bogota put on the first Ciclovia decades ago by closing several of its main streets to cars and opening them to pedestrians and cyclists on Sundays.  Over the years, a culture developed around these gigantic street parties.  Citizens literally pack the streets taking their bikes, joining group exercises and dances or just taking a walk free from the interference of the automobile.  To get an idea of the scope, power and joy of Ciclovia, check out this iconic Streetfilm from December of 2007.

New York, Portland and San Francisco have all started programs to similar to Ciclovia in recent years.  Like Ciclovia their events run on Sundays.  Unlike Ciclovia, their events are only on certain Sundays in the summer.  Activists in these cities credit their Ciclovia-styled events have encouraged more people to try urban cycling and walking because they could "get their feet wet" in a comfortable, car-free environment.

Los Angeles is expecting to move incrementally on our CicLAvia, bringing a series of small events to communities before going larger in future years.  The first street to see a CicLAvia will probably be a two-mile stretch of road in Boyle Heights, where a grant from the California Foundation would help pay for the pilot Ciclovia.  While the Mayor’s office has expressed interest in the project, it hasn’t yet committed to a date, route, or time.  However, cyclists and pedestrians shouldn’t be discouraged by the cautious approach at City Hall.  San Francisco’s Sunday Streets program kicked off this year with a series of two-hour closures that were so popular that Mayor Newsom already announced the extension and expansion of the program for 2010.

So now the clock is ticking towards the Spring of 2010.  Will Los Angeles finally realize that you don’t need a Lakers Championship or dead celebrity or ethnic festival to hold a car-free party?  In my opinion, just living in the land of eternal sunshine is reason enough.

  • great idea

  • Will Campbell

    With the marathon organizers canceling the annual LA Bike Tour, purportedly to reinvent the ride out as a world-class, stand-alone event, the CycLAvia might be a great opportunity for them to get behind.

  • Carol

    A) It’ll never happen.

    B) Where are all the people? That photo shows some half dozen. MacArthur Park is already a well traveled area by foot and bike.

  • John

    It’s C-O-L-O-M-B-I-A! No “U” in site!

  • Nick

    Hey Carol, lay off the haterade. That stuff’ll kill ya…..

  • Clarence

    Damien,

    Think a big community showing out there of all the Ciclovia/Summer Streets/etc films could help put it over the top? We can get something to you pronto.

    Chicago just did so, and they are on their way to what looks like more Ciclovias.

  • Bobby and Steven from cicLAvia made a presentation last night at the East Hollywood Neighborhood Council’s Outreach Committee meeting, which the committee voted to recommend to the EHNC’s governing board to vote to endorse at our upcoming meeting on Monday, November 16 at Kingsley Manor.

    The plan is to have cicLAvia span between two communities as a pilot project, so if East Hollywood is down, who’s with us? Silver Lake? Los Feliz?

  • I’m soooo down with you in Echo Park!! This is the best news I’ve heard all day!! Hope we actually can do it – and how about for world health day in March? Let’s be a part of the global movement to make our cities better http://www.who.int/world-health-day/2010/en/index.html

  • I say East Hollywood, Silver Lake, Echo Park – let’s do it!

  • Wooooot! Wooooooooot! It’s great to see that this great idea is finally getting some traction! I wanna ride in LA’s ciclovia next summer!

    Some credit where credit due: CicLAvia is a project/committee/campaign that was initiated and is staffed by the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition. The steering committee group includes C.I.C.L.E. (which I work for and which you should all become members of! end shameless plug), Green L.A. Coalition, and Community Arts Resources.

  • Ron

    Yeah! CicLAvia in LA. I can’t wait. It’s not a question of “if”, it’s a question of “where” and “when” and “how often will we repeat this fantastic experience for Angelenos”. Oh yeah!

  • Sam

    This could be a great idea in other Cities surrounding LA as well (hint). A big challenge for these cities is getting resources to safely close off large segments of streets, plus buy-in from local businesses and residents.

  • Ken

    Post cicLAvia euphoria happening. So glad that the organizers pulled off one of the free public best events in LA, EVER!

  • Ken

    Post cicLAvia euphoria happening. So glad that the organizers pulled off one of the best public events in LA, EVER!

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

STREETSBLOG USA

Health Benefits of Ciclovia Events Outweigh Costs

|
Ciclovia, Sunday Parkways, Open Streets, Walk and Roll — no matter what your community calls its car-free street event, they are well worth the effort, according to a new study published in the Journal of Urban Health. A careful cost-benefit analysis of Ciclovia-style events in four different countries found that the health benefits of these […]

Long Beach Beach Streets II Open Thread

|
There were plenty of great firsts taking place last Saturday at Long Beach’s second iteration of its excellent Beach Streets open streets festival. It was not Long Beach’s first ciclovía; that took place nearly a year ago, in June 2015. It was the first time the city of Long Beach has held an open streets […]

Editorial: Don’t Move the Protestors for CicLAvia

|
The relationship between “Occupy L.A.” and the City of Los Angeles has been a relatively smooth one, at least compared to the one in New York City.  Protesters have peacefully assembled on the City Hall Lawn, some sleep on the concrete pathways at night as sleeping on the grass is technically illegal, and arrests have […]

Villaraigosa to Host CicLAvia Press Conference Next Wednesday

|
Things are picking up for Los Angeles’ first CicLAvia – a car-free festival taking place on October 10th 2010 – that’s Ten-Ten-Ten! For those unfamilar with the CicLAvia concept, check out Streetfilms’ Ciclovias All over the World page for examples from Bogotá to New York to San Jose. From 10am to 3pm on Sunday October 10th, 7.5 […]

Lakers Parade Shows Us L.A. Can Have Ciclovia

|
I 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 […]

Wiki Wednesday: Ciclovía

|
With New York’s big Summer Streets premier less than 72 hours away, this week we’re highlighting the StreetsWiki entry on the mother of all car-free events, Bogotá’s Ciclovía. Actually, the phrase "car-free event" doesn’t quite do justice to a weekly gathering of a million people along 70 miles of streets. And as the authors note, […]