Mayor Villaraigosa Invites Angelenos to CicLAvia

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Everyone huddles for a group shot. From left to right: Aurisha Smolarski, Heidi Zeller (kneeling),Ed Reyes, Tom LaBonge, Rita Robinson, Antonio Villaraigosa, unknown cyclist, Eric Garcetti Photo: Ariel Aboody

This morning, mayor Antonio Villaraigosa held a press conference to invite the city to participate in CicLAvia, L.A.’s first open streets festival, on October 10th 2010. The mayor spoke fondly of his trips to Copenhagen and Mexico City and contrasted their bike-populated streets to those of Los Angeles. The mayor related the story that he had returned from Mexico City, where he had seen their ciclovía event on the Via Reforma. He asked his staff ”why don’t we do this here?” and they connected him with the nascent CicLAvia efforts… and the result will play out on seven miles of Los Angeles streets next month.

Mayor Villaraigosa proclaimed his excitement for L.A.’s first CicLAvia, and assured the crowd assembled that it was the start of at least an annual tradition. He also spoke of his push for the 30/10 plan to accelerate completion of Southern California transit infrastructure, and his intent to utilize the city’s Measure R funds to make bike and pedestrian connections with the new rail lines.

Standing with the mayor were nearly all of the Councilmembers who represent communities along the CicLAvia route: Council President Eric Garcetti, Councilmembers Jose Huizar, Tom LaBonge and Ed Reyes. They each spoke in support of bicycling and of CicLAvia as ways to encourage health, reduce environmental impacts, and connect communities. Council Transportation Committee chair Bill Rosendahl also spoke of extending future CicLAvia events to his west side district, and of building community by bringing neighbors together at street closure events.

Los Angeles Department of Transportation General Manager Rita Robinson and Special Events Transportation Engineer Aram Sahakian covered some of the technical and logistical event details. The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition’s Aurisha Smolarski, CicLAvia’s Heidi Zeller and Joe Linton, and Midday Ridazz‘ Jimmy Lizama all spoke to express the cycling community’s excitement about CicLAvia.

CicLAvia takes place on Sunday October 10th 2010 (that’s 10-10-10) from 10am to 3pm. The event is free and open to all. The 7-mile route extends from the Hel-Mel Bicycle District in East Hollywood to Hollenbeck Park in Boyle Heights. Communities along the route include Koreatown, Westlake, Downtown and Little Tokyo. L.A. Streetsblog plans to attend and to produce an L.A. Streetfilm documentary of the event.

(Thanks to Joe Linton for the background information.)