Metro, City, Get Serious About Funding CicLAvia

CicLAvia may be rolling somewhere new, in April or June. Photo: CicLAvia

(Editor’s Note: The City Council passed the motion on Friday, November 16, 2012, making the allocation final.)

At today’s City Council Transportation hearing, a Memorandum of Understanding between the City of Los Angeles and CicLAvia will be vetted publicly for the first time. At the request of the Mayor’s Office, Metro designated $950,000 of  Transportation Development Act funding to the City of Los Angeles and CicLAvia (the organization) to cover the cost of the next two CicLAvias, tentatively planned for April and June of 2013.

Of course, the City Council must approve the memorandum so the new funding isn’t 100% assured. But for now, CicLAvia and the Mayor’s Office are hoping they have an agreement that will help the city move forward with two new events and CicLAvia the organization transition from scrappy and efficient non-profit to a more professional and permanent organization.

“This new funding would enable Los Angeles to continue to this new tradition and give hundreds of thousands more Angelenos the opportunity rediscover their city,” writes Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in a statement.

For the city, the TDA funding allows them to cover their end of the cost for the spring and summer events. In the past, Los Angeles was mixing together a mesh of private and grant funds to pay for CicLAvia. For CicLAvia the organization, the funding will allow them to compensate staff at a professional level and bring on new fundraisers to increase the organization’s capacity both as an event planner and advocacy group. Aaron Paley, a member of the CicLAvia steering committee, says CicLAvia is not satisfied with this government grant and hopes to match Metro and the City’s investment.

In 2010, CicLAvia raised $150,000. The next year it nearly tripled to over $400,000. This year the organization raised $600,000 so far.

“We’re very excited, and this is a chance to grow our impact,” says Paley of the government investment. “We think of this as more than here’s a day in the year, we feel we’re having an impact beyond the CicLAvia day itself. We’re building alliances for active transportation and all the different parts and resources that are working to make Los Angeles a more interesting place.”

Traditionally, CicLAvia has been held six months apart, one in mid-October and one in mid-April. As part of this grant, CicLAvia is promising two events just two months apart. Paley promises that one of the CicLAvias will feature a completely different route from the East Hollywood/Mid-Town to East L.A. route that served as the backbone for all of the previous events. They weren’t ready to announce the new route just yet, but when they are ready you’ll be able to read all about it at Streetsblog.

Paley and the CicLAvia team hope to expand CicLAvia in both the number and geographic area of events. “It’s our hope to one day have monthly events,” he added. But for 2013 the goal is to expand from two to three as a minimum.

But it’s not just about the events anymore. Paley notes the “alliances for active transportation” that have formed in South L.A., Boyle Heights and other parts of the city and county where CicLAvia is trying to take root. CicLAvia has become not just a rallying cry for livable streets activists, but also a way to introduce people to cycling, other parts of their city or even their own community.

“I’ve heard so many stories from Angelenos who dusted off their old bikes in the garage for the first CicLAVia, who took public transit to get to the second one, and who discover a new part of LA during every event,” adds Villaraigosa.” Now Angelenos are not only using bikeways and public transit, but they’re advocating and getting involved, too.”

For Villaraigosa, the June event will likely be a bittersweet one as his administration terms out on July 1. CicLAvia has been a major part of the administration’s second term and it seems almost fitting to hold one last one in its last days.

  • Nathan Griffiin

    4 or 5 uniformed LAPD officers are not needed at every intersection.  That is a way to help reduce the costs.  The police presence is a bit much, and expensive.

  • Roadblock

    really just need 1 cop and 2 ciclavia volunteers

  • Roadblock

    A big Thank you to Mayor Villaraigosa for pushing rail transit fast forward and for getting behind cycling by pushing the LADOT forward… These changes will positively effect Los Angeles for years. Sad that measure J BARELY didn’t pass (Cali didnt count all the votes) or Mayor V’s legacy would have been even greater… 

  • Dennis Hindman

    There seems to be a choice being made of giving funds to CicLAvia instead of for bicycle infrastructure. According to  the California Transportation Development Act (TDA) two percent of the money is to be used by counties and cities to create facilities for pedestrians and bicycling. Five percent of that  may be used to supplement moneys from other sources to fund bicycle safety education programs. For fiscal year 2011, $1,853,699 was allocated to the city of Los Angeles. Which means that about half of that is going towards CicLAvia events.

    When you consider that it has been costing the city of Los Angeles an average of about $52,000 a mile for unprotected bike lanes, then this $950,000 given towards CicLAvia could create eighteen miles of bike lanes. If the bike lanes are used only fifteen hours a day for each day of the year, then you would only need an average of 36 people bicycling per hour on these bike lanes to equal the 200,000 people cycling at two CicLAvia events. That’s only an average of two people cycling per mile in each of the fifteen hours on the bike lanes. The bike lanes also last about five years and CicLAvia is a temporary event. When the CicLAvia event ends, then where is the infrastructure for these people to cycle on a daily basis?

    CicLAvia is a great event, but it’s not clear that taking funding away from bicycle infrastructure installations to fund it is advancing the rate of cycling in the city. The Census Bureau’s American Community Survey for 2011 has the City of Los Angeles at a bicycle commuting rate of 1%. Previous survey results showed 0.9% in 2010,  1% in 2009 and 0.9% in 2008. If the 52-miles of bicycle lanes installed in fical year 2011 get just an average increase in the rate of cycling compared to what the 90 biggest cities in the U.S obtained with this ratio of bike lane installation per population or square mileage,. then the commuting bicycle rate should increase to at least 1.1% on next years survey. Which would be a 10% increase in the commuting cycling rate. Eighteen miles of bike lanes is more than a third of the 52 miles that Los Angeles installed in fiscal year 2011.

  • Roadblock

    If they are taking money away from cycling infrastructure that is a SERIOUS issue worth looking into… However, consideration should also be given to the educational / hype benefits that CicLAvia provides the public. The more the average joe gets out there and enjoys cycling in a safe environment, the more likely that joe will want to get out there in the neighborhood and experience it again, the more political will brews in the hearts and minds of the people.