In Boyle Heights, CicLAvia is sometimes the first chance for people in the neighborhood to venture off the sidewalk and onto the streets on a bicycle, or provides local businesses an opportunity to get creative in the way they get involved in the ten and a half mile “open street” block party.
One example came from a small bike shop on the corner of Cummings Street and Cesar Chavez Avenue when some of the shops mechanics set up a table across the street from the Boyle Heights Technology Center. Last year, Misneighbors.com saw artists Lilia Ramirez and Raul Gonzalez taking up the same location at CicLAvia. This year, a teenager that works at the shop, Rosendo Valdez, convinced the stores owner to take out his supplies and work on bikes on 4th Street during CicLAvia.
The mechanics mainly replaced tires or tubes on bikes passing by on the CicLAvia route. The bike shop mechanics charged for the supplies that were used, but the labor was free, said Valdez, a student at Theodore Roosevelt High School in Boyle Heights.
Yesterday at an American Planning Association panel entitled “Ciclovia: Bogota’s Influence on Bike Policy,” Misneighbors.com editor Jessica Perez said that in Boyle Heights CicLAvia brings local residents to different parts of the neighborhood they never visited.
“You start noticing a lot of different things in your neighborhood through (CicLAvia),” said Perez. “I had never walked through the Fourth Street Bridge, and I’ve been a life long resident.”