While pretty much everyone loves CicLAvia, coming back to Los Angeles’ streets this Sunday, there has been one complaint that keeps popping up. The event is just too popular. There is such a latent demand to safely explore the city on bicycle, that over 100,000 bikes crowd the streets, making other CicLAvia events, such as just taking a walk on the open street, more difficult than they should be.
This Sunday, Los Angeles Walks is proudly declaring that CicLAvia isn’t just an event for cyclists. While CicLAvia sponsored walking tours of neighborhoods along the route in past years, L.A. Walks is thinking bigger. They’re not just programming walking tours, they’re programming a parade.
Introducing the Figueroa Street Parade.
A parade? In the middle of CicLAvia?
“It’s a brand new – that was a reason to do it,” explains Alexis Lantz, a Los Angeles Walks steering committee member. “What we found in the past, when they add a new route, they tend to be a little less crowded. 7th Street gets so crowded with bikes and pedestrians that it would be difficult to get through. A parade might be a little more head to head with the existing CicLAvia public.”
Los Angeles Walks is “calling all strollers” to join them at 11:30 a.m. at the northwest corner of 8th and Figueroa Streets this Sunday for a three-mile walk down Figueroa Street. While anyone is welcome to join them, the walking team hopes to create a the feel of a traditional parade with musical events, banners and other signage, costumes and decorations. Of course, anyone is welcome to join the walk, but the main purpose is to create a space in CicLAvia where everyone feels safe to take a walk down the center of the street.
If you’re interested in joining the parade, and you plan to bring more than a stroller and the family, contact Jessica Meaney at jessica.meaney(at)gmail(dot)com or RSVP at the event’s Facebook Page. If you have trouble finding the parade start, you can look for a giant puppet. Los Angeles Walks will also have extra signs and materials on hand so anyone can make a statement as a parader.
“The issue of walking and health is so critical for South L.A.,” says Karen Mack, the founder of L.A. Commons. “It’s not easy to bring people together in Los Angeles for anything. This gives a chance to bring different worlds together, and just get people walking in their own neighborhood or somewhere else.”
L.A. Commons is planning a different, art-themed event for CicLAvia that will have synergy with the parade. Streetsblog will have more on that event later this week.
The selection of South Figueroa Street, future home of the South Figueroa Corridor Project aka My Figueroa!, is not a coincidence. The project promises to turn three miles of Figueroa Street into Los Angeles’ most progressive street. Separated bike lanes, pedestrian plazas, transit only lanes…Los Angeles has experimented with some of these planning options, but never all in one place.
And it just so happens that the parade route nearly mirrors the My Figueroa corridor.
“There’s an opportunity to get an idea of what’s planned,” says Lantz of syncing the parade and My Figueroa. “You can get an experience of the street while seeing what the future can be.”
(Full disclosure: Deborah Murphy is the founder of Los Angeles Walks and vice-president of the Southern California Streets Initiative which fundraises for and provides editorial direction for L.A. Streetsblog.)