Lessons from Mexico City: Ciclovia
When I woke up on Sunday Morning here in Mexico City and looked out my window down at the giant Reforma Blvd., it was full of hundreds of cyclists. Without knowing it, I had stumbled into one of Mexico City’s weekly Ciclovia events where miles of major Boulevards are closed off to automobile traffic and instead taken over by cyclists, rollerskaters, walkers, soccer players, dogs, children and many more.
My friends and I walked down to the street and marveled at the constant stream of cyclists – old and young, men and women, all kinds of bikes. What a great way to experience a city! For those who didn’t have bikes, there were kiosks every half-mile or so where you could borrow a bike for free. I didn’t have my passport with me so I couldn’t borrow one. The good news is that this is a weekly event so I plan to borrow a bike next week. There are also numerous racks full of free city bikes that people could use as well.
What also impressed me was that several of the blocks had programmed space where the streets were used for other purposes. With world cup fever going on down here, several blocks of street were converted into mini-soccer fields. Another stretch of street was turned into a showcase for locals who had restored old VW Bugs to show off their cars. Ciclovia here gives a variety of options for people to experience their streets as vibrant places to enjoy.
At major intersections, police regulated the car traffic so it could cross the Ciclovia on a regular basis. We later took the subway about six stops down to the historic Zocolo, and to my surprise, the Ciclovia was going on all the way down there!
If Mexico City can do this on a weekly basis, why not Los Angeles? I’m definitely looking forward to riding in the first Ciclavia in Los Angeles on September 12th. I encourage you to plan on attending and invite your friends to join you.