Thinking of Walking CicLAvia? Think of Joining the Figueroa Street Parade

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.

Worried about taking a walk this Sunday? Don't be. The Los Angeles Walks Figueroa Parade is open to everyone! Photo:##http://www.laimyours.com/12825/jesus-did-the-marathon/##LA I'm Yours##

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.)

  • Another thing that makes Fig a great venue to try this out: it’s really wide, moreso than other streets on the route, which should make it easy for anyone on a bike to go around on their way down to Expo Park. I plan to take part, probably walking my bike along side me, as I’m working a shift at MacArthur Park starting at 2 and I need to get back over there quickly.

    As an aside, has anyone ever interviewed the guy in the Jesus outfit? He’s seemingly been at just about every big public event on LA streets in the past year or so.

  • jessica

    We’d love it if friends and family joined us in our walking parade.  We’re excited to celebrate Los Angeles on foot down Figueroa – and we have 15 signs and a big banner we’ll need help carrying.

    Check out picts of the signs we’ve been making here http://www.flickr.com/photos/losangeleswalks/sets/72157631680945339/

    we’ve picked up the huge Los Angeles Walks banner too.  Look for the giant puppet at 8th and Fig at before noon to join the parade on Sunday.  And Trader Joe’s has donated snacks to keep us enjoying the day as we walk towards Expo Park.  And this Friday night we’ll be making more LA Walks pins and signs – hope people will consider locking up there bikes and joining us in a slow fun walk down LA’s streets – the middle of them!

  • LA Walks

    at about 12:15/12:30pm melani smith from meléndrez will be at gil lindsay plaza (northwest corner of pico and figueroa) to talk about the my figueroa project which will bring the first protected cycle tracks to los angeles along south figueroa street from 7th street to martin luther king jr. blvd. please join us for all or part of the walk.

  • Red

    This may be the single most stupid and selfish idea ever conceived of. The point of Ciclavia IS to get people out of their cars and exercising, but people who walk already have someplace to go–they’re called sidewalks. It’s astonishing how few pedestrians bothered to use the vast, empty sidewalks today, apparently preferring to be mowed down by any six-year-old who can barely maneuver on training wheels. As it was, cyclists could barely make their way through downtown given the timing of the traffic lights, sometimes having to wait through 4 or 5 cycles just to cross active streets. Add in the various groups who felt that this was a perfect opportunity to call attenion to themselves by drumming or dancing in the street, and I think you’ll find that Ciclavia may rapidly become a victim of its own success.

  • calwatch

    Except on sidewalks, they get mowed down by bicyclists NOW. I deliberately walk in the street every Ciclavia, and will continue to do so. I noticed markedly less annoyance by bicyclists, although this may be a function of when I walked – later in the afternoon – and where I walked, wide Figueroa where there is plenty of space to maneuver around. I am always disheartened by the bicyclists who try to use Ciclavia to set their own personal land speed record, especially coming down the bridges. It is not that. It’s a linear park, not a bicycle freeway, and Ciclavia should not be a bicycling event – it is a people event. 

  • The point of CicLAvia is to open the streets to everyone — whether they choose to ride a bike or not — and to allow participants to enjoy the route and the neighborhoods at a relaxed pace, discovering new things and meeting new people along the way. If all you’re doing is trying to ride quickly from one end to the other, and all you’re thinking about is how long it takes you to get there and how other people are in your way, you’re doing it wrong.

  • chris

    That’s not hypocritical at all, from someone who probably spends the other 363 days of the year bitching and moaning about the way cyclists are treated by drivers.

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