What was your favorite part of Southern California’s 14th CicLAvia? Shark and banana bikes? Little girls riding pink training-wheeled bikes? Impromptu front yard parties? Auto dealerships handing out fruit and water? Bike-share demos from coming-soon Metro and Santa Monica systems? Metro Board of Directors Chair and L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and fellow boardmember L.A. City Councilmember Mike Bonin taking bike-share demo bikes for a spin? Added: Supervisor Hilda Solis too! L.A. Great Streets pop-up parklet announcing protected bike lanes coming to Venice Boulevard?!? Hard-shell tacos? Live music? Farmers Market? LADWP tap water refill stations? Spotting something you never noticed before? Beautiful Angelenos of every shape, size, and age smiling in the streets together?
Posts from the CicLAvia Category
Today, Tito’s Tacos posted on Twitter and Facebook that they will be open during this Sunday’s CicLAvia – Culver City meets Venice. Tito’s emphasized that many of their employees take public transit and ride bikes to work every day. CicLAvia tweeted that they’ll be helping Tito’s out with bike and car parking that day.
This put to bed a surprisingly escalating controversy. It is perhaps not much as far as controversies go, but Tito’s had kicked a hornets’ nest by publishing a strongly-worded anti-CicLAvia piece at Culver City news outlet The Front Page. Tito’s owner Lynne Davidson stated, in part:
… immediately cancel the CicLAvia event or, at a bare minimum, that the streets surrounding Tito’s Tacos [not be] closed to through-traffic on Aug. 9, which traditionally is one the biggest days of the year for us.
If this ill-conceived event happens, Tito’s Tacos plans to file a claim under the Government Code against the City of Culver City and CicLAvia to recoup all damages the event causes to Tito’s Tacos.
The Front Page also published a response quoting extensively from City Councilman Jim Clarke in defense of CicLAvia. The discussion quickly degenerated into a volley of comments like, “Their tacos suck anyway.”
I first saw the controversy mentioned at Biking in L.A. The Militant Angeleno playfully referenced an earlier incident where a driver had crashed into Tito’s, temporarily shutting it down, “Rest assured that unlike your car-oriented customers, we won’t be crashing into your wall.”
Further articles ran in LAist and the L.A. Weekly. The controversy even reached national livability circles in the form of an article published this afternoon at The Atlantic‘s CityLab declaring Tito’s to be “on the wrong side of history.”
As one of the people who went door-to-door notifying businesses about CicLAvia from 2010 through 2012, I have to say that Tito’s response is just not that out of the ordinary. Read more…
South L.A. community organizer and streets advocate extraordinaire Tafarai Bayne was often seen exploring the vast landscape of Los Angeles on “The Flash,” his recently retired bicycle.
Despite The Flash’s retirement, Bayne’s passion for the cycling community remains a prevalent aspect in his work.
On December 7th, 2014, Bayne was joined by tens of thousands of Angelenos as CicLAvia cycled through South L.A. neighborhoods, from Leimert Park to Central Avenue via Martin Luther King, Jr., Boulevard.
CicLAvia’s South L.A. route was a monumental event for multiple reasons: not only was it the first CicLAvia held through and for South L.A. communities, it was also the first route that Bayne had a strong hand in planning and executing after helping plan the event in previous years.
“The route in December was the culmination of years of work that I and some good friends/allies started in 2010 after I got the chance to attend the first CicLAvia,” wrote Bayne.
In association with TRUST South L.A., Bayne approached Joe Linton, then an organizer for CicLAvia (and currently the editor of Streetsblog Los Angeles). Despite Linton’s warnings of a lengthy planning process (written about by Streetsblog L.A.’s Sahra Sulaiman here) — one that ultimately lasted about four years — Bayne was determined to bring the cycling event to his community.
His interest in elevating communities like South L.A. had begun at an early age.
Born in Watts, Bayne was raised in the city’s Crenshaw District. As a student at Downtown Business Magnet, he often found himself navigating Los Angeles on city buses to get to classes held in downtown spaces. He credits the combination of his upbringing and the commutes that allowed him to experience the ambiance of multiple neighborhoods with giving him a lens to think critically about his city and the number of ways in which communities like South L.A. were often overlooked.
It was teacher-turned-UTLA secretary, Daniel Barnhart, that helped him think about how to channel his passion for social justice and the advancement of his community into advocacy.
“I was introduced by [Barnhart] to the idea of advocacy and community organizing,” said Bayne. “He’s an organizer for the teachers’ union now, but at the time he was going to the [1999 World Trade Organization] protests in Seattle. He’d come back and show us his gas masks and talk [to us] about challenging what people were perceiving as unjust, unfair laws. People weren’t getting a say on how things were being decided or on the impacts they were feeling. This really got me thinking about engaging in Los Angeles.”
Now attuned to the significance of public policy, Bayne didn’t wait long to test out what he’d learned. After graduating high school, he volunteered at the “Convergence Center” at the 2000 Democratic National Convention — the gathering site for protesters and community organizers from around the country. He then went on to intern with Public Allies. It was through this internship that Bayne was placed at Strategic Actions for a Just Economy (SAJE), where he was brought on board, first, as an intern and then as full-time staff. Bayne later found himself returning to Public Allies and, finally, spending seven years working at TRUST South L.A., an organization that addresses affordable housing (and, more recently, mobility) challenges in South L.A., and shifting his attention toward urban planning. Read more…
How was your Beach Streets? Long Beach, the aspirational most bike-friendly city in America and demonstrably the most bike-friendly city in L.A. County, has joined the ranks of cities hosting open streets festivals or ciclovías. Long Beach’s first ever Beach Streets was full of camaraderie, chillness, and community.
How was it for you, SBLA readers? Are open streets festivals different in cities that embrace two-wheeled transportation? Was Long Beach’s ciclovía markedly different than open streets festivals produced by the non-profit CicLAvia? Has Metro’s countywide open streets initiative spread these events to new places and exposed new people to the awesomenesses that are ciclovías? Comment below!
I still remember the feeling in the air right before the 10/10/10 CicLAvia: a mix of anticipation, nervous energy and curiosity. Twelve CicLAvia’s later, including CicLAvia XIII in Pasadena last week, the event brings the same excitement and wonder it ever does. But, as an experienced Open Streets participant, humor me while I share some of my views on the best ways to enjoy Beach Streets. Long Beach’s very first Beach Streets takes place tomorrow – Saturday June 6 from .
1. First off, if you’ve never been to an Open Streets event, take a couple of minutes to check out this video to get pumped up. This video is nearly a decade old, but captures the energy of the Bogota ciclovia so well that it’s still used by advocates trying to convince their own city to embrace open streets.
Want to see more, check out some of our videos from the first CicLAvias in Los Angeles.
2. Pack for twice as long as you expect to be there. You’ll be surprised by how much there is to do and how addictive it is to just be out there. So pack your suntan lotion, pack your water, bring some snacks…
3. …AND plan to spend some money. One of the easiest stories for a reporter looking to cast shade on an Open Streets is to find some businesses that “lost a day of revenue” because “people couldn’t get to the store.” Provide your own counter-narrative by visiting some local shops and eateries and spend some cash.
4. Figure out how you’re going to get to the event ahead of time. Long Beach Transit is providing free shuttle service (look for the buses with a “Charter” sign) and there will be a temporary bike lane on Wardlow Street from the Blue Line Station to the west of the event. Last but not least, LBCycology has planned a feeder bike ride. Santa Monica Spoke too.
5. But still bring a map. Ok, I know you’re going to say that the route is basically a straight line. But you never know how knowing where the street closures are is going to impact your trip to and from and through the event. Also, Open Streets is about meeting new people, and you also never know when having a map will help you make a new friend. Print a map, here.
6. Leave your racing shoes/wheels at home. There are few things that ruin an Open Streets event more than people who see the lack of cars and decide to act like entitled drivers anyway. Beach Streets is not about setting land-speed records. Relax. You’ll appreciate it. So will everyone around you. While you’re at it, leave the lycra at home too.
7. Bring a friend…especially if you’re planning to bike the event. Bring families, kids, husbands, domestic partners, nieces, etc. Your non-cyclist friends probably think that biking in the city is too hard, show them how easy it can beTell your non-biking friends that you’re only going to ride an hour or two (don’t talk distances, just times), with plenty of stops for snacks and lunch. Your friends may be surprised at how far they can go.
8. Don’t plan ahead. At least don’t plan too much. Be spontaneous. Yes, maybe plan to do something at a specific place and time, but also leave time to run into friends, make new friends, listen to music, etc. Be spontaneous. Be open to the unexpected – and you will see something or someone you didn’t expect. Don’t try to get from one end of the route to the other quickly, or you might be stressed and disappointed. If you really want to plan your day around a specific event or have a fun place for a meetup, Beach Streets’ website has guides to both events and entertainment.
9. Stop and take pictures. While the city is planning to hold these events again, there isn’t a set timeline. You never know how long it will be before you get a chance to fill up your Livable Streets Photo Album. You also never know when your favorite website for news and views on urban design and clean transportation options might hold a photo contest.
10. Be nice. I hope this is self-explanatory.
CicLAvia touched down in the City of Pasadena for the first time yesterday. The route, centered on Colorado Boulevard, showcased the city’s great walkable historic core, preserved because the City of Pasadena stopped the destructive and costly practice of street widening and reformed parking, but that’s a whole ‘nother story. Yesterday, Pasadena saw plenty of smiles, music, dogs, families, long lines at eateries, crowded Gold Line cars, and – yes – tens of thousands of bikes.
Readers – what did you think? Did you walk, skate, or bike? At 3.5 miles it was the shortest CicLAvia yet. Was the distance too long, too short, or just right? Did you take a feeder ride? Or the Metro Gold Line?
Ciclovía afficionados don’t even need to wait a week for L.A. County’s next open streets events. Long Beach is hosting its inaugural Beach Streets event this Saturday June 6 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. It will be the first local ciclovía not run by the organization CicLAvia. Explore L.A. County’s leading bike-friendly city and keep cool as the summer heats up. Who’s heading for Long Beach?
With a winning formula that attracts tens of thousands of participants, spurred on by funding from Metro, Southern California open streets programs are not just for central and Downtown L.A. any more. Coming soon, inaugural ciclovías will take Long Beach and Pasadena. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
Yesterday, CicLAvia opened Lankershim and Ventura Boulevards for nearly six miles of car-free San Fernando Valley. Studio City and North Hollywood were bikes on bikes on bikes, with skates, scooters, wheelchairs, and walking shoes all tossed in for good measure.
The weather was cool. The streets, hubs, restaurants, and trains were crowded. The smiles were plentiful.
How was your CicLAvia – The Valley? Was this, the 12th CicLAvia, different than the rest, or just the same old CicLAvia magical awesomeness? How was your experience getting there, moving through, and getting home? What did your kids or your parents enjoy most? Did you see new and intriguing features: the pop-up protected bike lane? NoHo’s new plaza? another face of the Los Angeles River? a glimpse into the future of the San Fernando Valley?
After the jump, a few photos. Followed by your comments. Read more…
CicLAvia – The Valley takes place this Sunday, March 22, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. CicLAvia is L.A.’s open streets celebration – a free, fun, family-friendly festival – where streets are closed to cars to allow people on foot, skates, and bikes to take over.
There are already a handful of great guides available online. They’re all worthwhile, and there’s plenty of overlap.
- CiclaValley, the great new website dedicated to bicycling in the San Fernando Valley, has a fun and informative guide. The author, Zachary Rynew, definitely knows and loves the Valley, and he loves to bike it. His guide includes lots of attractions along the route, plus nearby sites, including: the Brady Bunch house, bike-friendly restaurants, Schindler apartments, and much more.
- The Militant Angeleno produces clever and fact-filled CicLAvia guides and his CicLAvia – The Valley guide is a treat. M.A. has great history from veterinary concentration to discrimination in L.A. fire-fighting history.
- CicLAvia has an official neighborhood guide [PDF] posted online, and available free in print at the event. The guide includes plenty of interesting stuff: historic auto dealerships, the giant hand car wash, and a history of Cahuenga Pass ending with the 101 Freeway, “as any commuter today knows.”
- CicLAvia also has an app that gives participants a soundscape tour of these great Valley neighborhoods. Download early!
As always, do not bring lunch. Bring money and buy lunch. Maybe breakfast, elevenses, and dinner, too. The route includes lots of great eats, from artisan cheese, sushi, Middle Eastern cuisine, delis, Dupar’s, to more than a dozen pizza places. Mom-and-pop proprietors along CicLAvia routes tend to be worried about their bottom line, and many of them think that car parking spaces pretty much equate with customers. Show these Valley businesses that walking and bicycling are great for business.
That tip is one of twelve CicLAvia tips that SBLA recommended last year, most of which are still applicable. Especially if you haven’t been to a CicLAvia event before, read these tips to get a sense for what to expect.
It looks like another hot day, with the forecast calling for full sun and 85 degrees. Here are a few tips for keeping cool:
- Go early (especially useful if you’re taking transit), then spend the midday heat inside a restaurant.
- If it gets really hot, take a break in the shade at a nearby park.
– Weddington Park – South (at Valleyheart and Lankershim, Google map) is right next to CicLAvia’s Universal City Hub, plenty of grass and mature tree cover.
– Two blocks west of the NoHo hub is North Hollywood Park (11430 Chandler Boulevard, 91601, Google map). Also plenty of shade.
TIPS FOR FAMILIES
CicLAvia is a great place for families. There are lots of kids on training-wheeled bikes, scooters, skates, skateboards, and on foot, as well as in bike trailers, cargo bikes, and all kinds of bike seats. It is a great and safe environment for kids on bikes – and also for cycling parents to try out and get more accustomed to our kid-carrying accoutrements. Read more…
“I grew up in the Valley and walked Ventura Boulevard and Lankershim countless times as a kid and as an adult,” begins Aaron Paley as he introduces the “soundscape” that has been produced for CicLAvia – The Valley, coming to a street near you on March 22. For more information on CicLAvia, or the event on the 22nd, click here.
CicLAvia, in partnership with the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, commissioned two Dutch artists, Rob van Rijswijk and Jeroen Strijbos, to create an interactive soundscape composition that brings together the past and present of the San Fernando Valley in one unique app. Instructions on how to use the app can be found in the video, above.
Basically, as people walk the CicLAvia route, the app on their phone will broadcast something new, either a speech, or some music, or a poem that reflects the portion of the route they are walking. Sorry, those who are biking the route, the app isn’t timed correctly for faster moving participants. However, if you miss CicLAvia or have two-wheeled plans for the day; CicLAvia staff confirms the app will continue to work “for years to come.” You can give yourself a tour anytime.
“That simple act of walking down the street is utterly transformed once you download Walk with Me and set off with earbuds in place. There’s this wonderful sense that you should just go a bit further to see what other sonic adventures are in store for you,” Paley continues. Read more…
“I am such a terrible reporter,” I texted my boss as I left Leimert Park around 4 p.m. yesterday. “All I did was talk to everyone I’ve ever met in the last three years…”
It was true. Instead of just taking in the event or snapping photos of happy participants, I went from pit stop to pit stop, seeking out the folks who were working to make sure L.A.’s re-introduction to South L.A. was a fantastically positive one.
If they weren’t busy behind the scenes, they were riding with their group, supporting the community organizations, acting as unofficial ambassadors for the area, and helping local youth access the event, as the East Side Riders Bike Club did by “picking up” students from Fremont High School on their feeder ride up from Watts.
And true to South L.A. advocacy fashion, just about every conversation I had assessed the day’s events, the turnout, and the work that was left to be done.
At the Free Lots! site (hosted by Community Health Councils, TRUST South L.A., Esperanza Community Housing, the Neighborhood Land Trust, Kounkuey Design Initiative, and the Leadership for Urban Renewal Network (LURN)), I talked with LURN Senior Associate Luis Gutierrez about both their efforts to see vacant lots transformed into community assets and the possibility of a cross-cultural dialogue on strengthening communities like South L.A. and Boyle Heights from within (see photos by LURN’s Rudy Espinoza, here)
Over at the Jazz Park Hub, I spoke with Reginald Johnson of the Coalition for Responsible Community Development about CRCD‘s effort to put together a Business Improvement District along Central Ave. and about the challenge of communicating South L.A.’s needs and aspirations to agencies that have little connection to the area or are reluctant to shed old stereotypes, either about its people or the community as a whole. Read more…