Advocates Gather in Leimert Park to Hear about CicLAvia Route through South L.A. Planned for December
South L.A. residents and advocates gathered at the KAOS Network in Leimert Park last night to learn more about CicLAvia and how the 6-mile route planned through the area on December 7th, 2014, would affect the community.
Staff from CicLAvia gave presentations explaining “ciclovias” and describing how the car-free, open streets events had first originated in concerns about the unhealthy conditions of city streets.
As people embraced them, they explained, the events evolved into important opportunities for community building. Open streets events here and around the country are now seen as key to creating vibrant public spaces, promoting active transportation and good health, bringing together diverse populations, and giving residents a fun and safe way explore new corners of their city.
And, they reassured the audience, the event is inclusive and welcomes pedestrians, skateboarders, and anyone else interested in leaving their car at home for a day.
Then, Tafarai Bayne, former CicLAvia board member and current member of the Board of Transportation Commissioners, put up a (still-being-finalized) map of the route that will run between Leimert Park and the Jazz District (below).
He told the group that, as it appears at the moment, Leimert Park Village (at the end of the route, at bottom left) will serve as the anchor of one hub and the other, Central Ave., will be closed between Washington and Vernon.
King Blvd. will serve as the connective (and, many will be pleased to know, flat) corridor between the two.
Organizers had originally considered staging some of the route along Crenshaw so that event participants could more easily access the Expo Line, but the construction of the Crenshaw Line has left much of the street in very poor condition.
The route is exciting because it will offer families in park-poor South L.A. the opportunity to turn their streets into a giant park for a day — one that they can play in as they see fit. Given how much the community enjoys the King Day parade along King Blvd., I have no doubt that it will be a smashing success.
But it is even more exciting because it is so rare that South L.A. is considered a destination to be celebrated.
That step forward represents a personal and emotional victory for advocates like Bayne, one of South L.A.’s more recognizable ambassadors.