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Posts from the "CicLAvia" Category


CicLAvia Highlights Need for Better Bike Infrastructure for Cycling to Grow as a Transportation Option

Rides at CicLAvia along Wilshire Blvd. (from last year. I took zero pictures this year). Sahra Sulaiman/LA Streetsblog

Riders at CicLAvia (2013) along Wilshire Blvd. Sahra Sulaiman/LA Streetsblog

“Stay to the right!” rang out over the megaphone from a passing police car. “That means you, young lady!”

As CicLAvia came to a close and streets were being re-opened to cars, well-meaning police officers did their best to warn folks on bikes that their two-wheeled utopia was subsisting on borrowed time.

And, while I was flattered that they thought I was young, I was rather flummoxed at the notion that they would have directed me to move from an empty eastbound lane of Wilshire to the right side of the dozen or so cars queuing up to turn right onto Hoover.

Who told them it was a good idea to run cyclists in front of cars turning right? I wondered.

This moment — the instant that the streets re-open to motorized traffic — is both the most informative part of CicLAvia and the most depressing.

It’s informative in that you immediately get a sense of how well-equipped your average person is to navigate traffic on a bike and your average police officer to help them do so. And, it’s depressing because the answer to both of those questions is “not very.”

At Hoover, the officers’ admonitions directing bikes heading east along Wilshire to stay to the far right were entirely counterproductive (and dangerous). Those that took those directions as gospel headed straight for the gutter, hugging the curb as closely as possible. But, because there was no room to ride in the car-occupied lane, many soon moved up onto the narrow sidewalk, where they had to walk their bikes.

All those now-pedestrians crossed through the intersection on foot, creating a tremendous bottleneck along Wilshire. Meanwhile, police continued to direct people to ride to the right of the growing line of cars waiting to turn right, despite the fact that the eastbound lanes remained almost entirely car-free.

Along other sections of Wilshire that had been re-opened to cars, some people chose to ride on the sidewalks, wanting no part of car traffic. Others continued to brave it out in the gutters, slowly battling and weaving their way up hills, sometimes completely oblivious to — or utterly panicked by — the line of cars forming behind them. Still others, apparently lost in the bike-fest bubble, merrily blew through red lights with their children in tow.

This is madness, I thought.

Not necessarily because all these inexperienced people were out on the streets — although that can be problematic, too — but because they were there and they were not protected by better infrastructure.

Earlier in the day, I had been talking with cycling advocate friends about the next steps forward from CicLAvia. Read more…


CicLAvia IX, Iconic Wilshire Corridor Open Thread

"Bikes May Use Full Lane, Damn Right." Photo and Caption: Joe Linton

“Bikes May Use Full Lane, Damn Right.” Photo and Caption: Joe Linton

CicLAvia IX: Iconic Wilshire Corridor has come and gone. While my Facebook feed is full of happy adults and smiling children, I know that my social media streams aren’t the best way to gauge how well an event was received.

I also know we didn’t make it to LaBrea…so that leaves about 80% of the map untouched by my son’s mini-Linus.

So what say you Streetsbloggers? How did yesterday’s CicLAvia stack up to yesteryear’s?

As always, I’ll post my comments a little later today.


Twelve Tips For This Sunday’s Iconic Wilshire Boulevard CicLAvia

CicLAvia opens Wilshire Boulevard this Sunday. 9am-4pm, Fairfax to Grand. Photo: Chris via Flickr

CicLAvia opens Wilshire Boulevard this Sunday. 9am-4pm, Fairfax to Grand. Photo: Chris via Flickr

This Sunday is CicLAvia! Wooot! Wooooooot! The route is all along Wilshire Boulevard – from Grand Avenue in Downtown L.A. all the way to Fairfax Avenue in Miracle Mile. There are lots of great guides already published on-line, including at the CicLAvia website, so SBLA won’t be encyclopedic here, but we do, in honor of April 6th, have six general tips for all CicLAvia participants, and six tips specifically for cyclists.

Six Tips for Everyone:

  1. Don’t plan ahead. At least don’t plan too much. Be spontaneous. If you’re zipping from your 9:30 a.m. yoga appointment to your 10 a.m. kids bike safety lesson to your 11 a.m. architecture tour, then you may be missing a lot of what makes CicLAvia great. 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.
  2. Get there early. There’s a lot going on. Things – restaurants, bike parking, hubs, streets – fill up and actually get congested as the day goes on. The streets are much more wide open right at 9 a.m. (Don’t tell LAPD or LADOT that I told you this, but the streets are pretty much entirely closed to cars by 8:30 a.m. or so.) Get there early, stop for lunch, and take other breaks.
  3. Walk tours. Wilshire and CicLAvia aren’t just about bikes, people walk too! If you’re on a bike, you can actually walk with the bike alongside you, for comfort, kind of like a security blanket. If you’re looking for a somewhat-structured walking experience, L.A. Walks recommends three different tours:
    9 a.m. – departing One Wilshire hub downtown – L.A. Leggers walk and run – details
    9 a.m. – departing Miracle Mile hub – City Planning Department walks – details
    11 a.m. – departing Wilshire/Western – Koreatown architecture tour – details
  4. Check out great architecture: Wilshire’s got great buildings; you might even call them iconic. See plenty of detail in CicLAvia’s and the Militant Angeleno‘s guides. Pick up a printed guide at a hub. Some of my favorite historic buildings, on and very near the route – listed east to west, include:
    Park Plaza Hotel – 607 South Park View St. – gorgeous stately former-luxury-hotel, amazing huge sculptures
    Bullocks Wilshire – 3050 Wilshire Blvd. – incredible former landmark department store, now a law school
    Chapman Market – 3465 W. 6th St – elegant, and arguably L.A.’s very first strip mall
    Wiltern Theater – 3790 Wilshire Blvd. – sweet green-tiles historic skyscraper
  5. Explore and photograph. Support local bike groups by doing New Belgium’s photo scavenger hunt. CicLAvia images and videos are changing the way Angelenos (and the world) think of L.A.’s streets. Help people imagine Los Angeles’ safer, saner future by taking and sharing pictures of it today! Well, er, this Sunday.
  6. Spend money. Bring your wallet. Don’t pack lunch and snacks. Don’t even bring bottled water. Go into a store, a restaurant, a museum, etc. along the route (or a block or two nearby), and buy something. You don’t even have to spend a lot because there’s so many of us that it adds up quickly. There are studies that show that merchants think parking is key to their success, but it’s really foot traffic. Please spend. Prove to Wilshire’s merchants that walking and bicycling is actually really good for business. Spending a few dollars makes merchants happy, which leads to them being more receptive to their streets being car-free more often.

Six Tips Specifically for Cyclists:

Read more…

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Expand Your Streets Knowledge at Upcoming Conferences

Move LA imagines the next transportation funding measure - details below

Move LA imagines the next transportation funding measure – details below

Over the next couple months, there are number of upcoming local conferences that L.A. Streetsblog readers might be interested in:

UCLA Lewis Center’s Digital Cities Smarter Transportation
Thursday, March 20th, 2014, 8 am – 7:30 pm
Japan American National Museum, DTLA
This conference explores the way mobile technology is changing transit, parking, food, and more – and the role of public and private institutions in managing these technologies.
Registration $179Streetsblog special: limited quantity of $129 tickets available – use discount code “sbla

Move L.A.’s Imagining Measure R2 … and Thriving L.A. County Communities
Friday, March 28th, 2014, 8:30 am – 4 pm
Cathedral Center, DTLA
This conference explores how Southern California communities can come together around investing in a robust transit system.
Registration $25-$75; scholarships available

Open Streets Project’s (with CicLAvia) Open Streets National Summit
Friday, April 4th – Sunday, April 6th, 2014
Line Hotel, Koreatown, L.A.
Learn the ins and outs of hosting open streets ciclovía events – from marketing to outreach to fundraising to route selection. Includes observation of and participation in the April 6th Iconic Wilshire Blvd CicLAvia festival.
Registration $395 (earlybird rate good until midnight tonight)

Urban Land Institute’s 14th Annual Urban Marketplace 
Wednesday April 23rd, 2014, 7:30 am – 12 pm
Dorothy Chandler Pavillion, DTLA
This conference and expo are designed to explore development strategies for L.A.’s lower income and higher poverty neighborhoods. Topics will include infill development, L.A. River revitalization, and development around USC and UCLA. More information as Urban Marketplace approaches. (L.A. Streetsblog is a media partner.)
Registration $70-$120

And, a couple of conferences hosted a bit farther away:

If you’re hosting a similar event, let us know – and consider promoting your event via an advertisement at L.A. Streetsblog.


Why Are There CicLAvias I Never Walk Under but Large and Melodious Thoughts Descend upon Me?*

Thanks to all the volunteers that helped make CicLAvia a friendly place. Especially these awesome three, who sang "Hakuna Matata" and dispensed free hugs in Little Tokyo. Sahra Sulaiman/LA Streetsblog

“Wow! That’s a lot of bike people!” exclaimed a security guard at a plaza in Little Tokyo.

I wasn’t sure if he meant it or if it was for my benefit. It was now 2 pm, and if he hadn’t noticed the bikes that were stacked up in the plaza and had been flowing past his station for the past several hours, then it would seem his powers of observation were perhaps not what they should have been.

And, there weren’t nearly as many bikes as I expected.

Having remembered how intense the crush of people could be through downtown at past events, especially along Spring St., I figured this time I would avoid all that by walking the route.

I needn’t have worried — there were spacious stretches where I was able to walk in the road completely unmolested.

That is, minus the nice grandpa-like gentleman (I thought) in his sixties who pedaled up to me only to snark, “Nice bike!”

That was a little weird.

Also weird? Getting my TAP card checked by three different sets of Sheriffs within three Metro stops on my way to Mariachi Plaza, where I began my walk.

“That means we’re doing our job,” said one when I mentioned he was the third to check my card since Union Station.

That’s not exactly what I was thinking.

Much like the confused family who were stopped before getting on the train at Union Station because they hadn’t seen the TAP validator, I thought that resources might be better invested in putting the validators in passengers’ paths. Sitting as they do along the wall now, they go unnoticed when it’s busy.

But don’t take my word for it. Take the Sheriff’s. The one who sent the father scurrying back down to the find the validator with 5 TAP cards in his hand exclaimed, “Man, it’s getting worse!” Read more…


Open Thread: CicLAvia VIII, Heart of Los Angeles

The last CicLAvia of 2013 has come and gone, with the next one planned for “March probably April” per the CicLAvia Twitter account. So what did you think? Did you love it? Did you take our advice and just have fun? Did you wonder how in the world the person inside that cow costume didn’t cook herself to death? And how about the Spring Street Green-In-Places Occasionally Buffered Sometimes Unmarked Bike Lane?

As always, I’ll put my thoughts in the comments a little later. But if you need some inspiration, I used Storify to pull a couple of fun pictures from the event. BTW, we haven’t had one entry in our scavenger hunt yet…let’s get those pictures going people!


CicLAvia: Chinatown Route Will Be Open on Sunday

After two days of discussion, CicLAvia announced this afternoon that the spur through Chinatown will be open on Sunday, but could see hours cut short if traffic to the Dodgers playoff game proves to be overwhelming the local street grid. Flying Pigeon L.A. reported that the hub could be cut completely, but that was not the case. CicLAvia, LADOT, and LAPD met yesterday and today and came to the following decision.

To ensure the best possible day for both sets of fans, LADOT and LAPD will closely monitor the flow of vehicle traffic to Dodgers Stadium Sunday afternoon in real time. Depending upon that flow, the projected 4:00 p.m. re-opening time of Broadway in Chinatown may be adjusted to allow for vehicle traffic.

THe full statement from CicLAvia can be found after the jump.
Read more…

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Advice for CicLAvia VIII: Heart of L.A., Go Out, Have Fun

At CicLAvia II, those kids behind the fence cheered every bicycle that went past. Photo: Damien Newton

I started writing four different guides for CicLAvia VIII this week. One focused on the growth of the event from the inaugural 10/10/10 CicLAvia, one was on WalkLAvia padding through Boyle Heights, one was an event roundup for happenings throughout the day, and another was about city politics entitled “We Need Another CicLAvia Turnaround.”

In the end though, I wasn’t happy with one of them. The closest I came to happy with an article was the one on WalkLAvia, because of my own brief history with Los Angeles Walks and my affinity for the people in the team and the creative ways they’re forcing Los Angeles decision-makers to consider pedestrian safety. The worst one was “We Need Another CicLAvia Turnaround,” which read as a gigantic whine about the Garcetti administration.

As a writer, I faced another issue: how do I say something new about either CicLAvia in general or about this particular CicLAvia event. We’ve written extensive previews about every CicLAvia. CicLAvia the organization was in the news plenty of times since CicLAvia VII back in June. Some of its non-event highlights include a $500,000 grant from the Wasserman Foundation which means there will be funding for CicLAvias IX through XII next year and a UCLA study showing that CicLAvia is great for local business.

There were also plenty of guides published, many of them on the CicLAvia website. What sense would it make to rehash those events and happenings when I could accomplish the same thing by just making a meta-series of links (which I did, at the end of this article.)

But there’s one thing I haven’t seen yet, which is just some simple advice. Whether this is your first CicLAvia or you’re eighth, treat as though it was your first one. Take a moment to talk to someone new. Go someplace you haven’t visited on the previous CicLAvias. Heck, the entire idea behind having a Streetsblog “scavenger hunt” is to encourage people to look around their surroundings for something a little different (and of course, some shameless self-promotion.)

Try to see something on the route you’ve never seen before forget the guides. Go slow. Take in the city, in a different way. And most importantly, wear sunscreen. Sorry, that last bit of advice is from the parent in me.

I'm more likely to remember running into Josef doing something cool than I am one of the large planned events. I wish I could see what he was doing here, but the glare off that green lane is just blinding. Photo:Ubrayj02/Flickr

Because here’s the thing. You know what I remember about CicLAvias? It’s never the planned events. It’s always the random interactions be it riding in front of Eric Garcetti at CicLAvia I and listening to his heartfelt awe at how great the event was, to my son kicking a soccer ball with a stranger at CicLAvia II, to running into Rachel Stevenson for the first time in over a year at CicLAvia VII.

Go make a memory on Sunday. And if you still want to read a CicLAvia preview, you can read one after the jump. Read more…


Streetsblog’s CicLAvia Scavenger Hunt…Part II

After everyone had such a good time with our CicLAia scavenger hunt back in June, we’re back with ten things to look for on Sunday during the “Heart of Los Angeles” CicLAvia. Some of these things are repeats, but some are new. Happy hunting. Here’s what you’re looking for. The picture has to be taken at CicLAvia

1) The old “South L.A. CicLAvia” logo
2) Mike Bonin
3) a Santa Monica Next t-shirt (if nothing else, I’ll be wearing an SMN t-shirt)
4) a stateue of a Headless Man
5) a Clippers and Lakers logo in the same picture
6) an Atlanta Braves logo
7) 5 pictures, one from each of the hubs
8) a Mariachi, not in Mariachi Plaza
9) The Bamboo Inn
10) WalkLAvia

The first person to tweet us a picture of any one of the above items or people to @streetsblogla or post one in the comments section of this article wins Streetsblog shwag (a cloth bag, or t-shirt). If you already have all the Streetsblog schwag, we can use a Santa Monica Next shirt. If you have that too, you’re last name is likely Newton, Kavanagh, Matute or Rubin and you’re not eligible to win anyway.

As a new bonus, anyone that sends us all ten wins a brand new award, a golden spoke card allowing free admittance to all Streetsblog events for the next year.

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The Bamboo Inn, One of Many Great Places to Check out at CicLAvia

I was gratified recently when I spoke with Ramon who owns the HMS Bounty to learn during the Iconic Wilshire Blvd. CicLAvia in June the place was so busy he was helping out the bar staff serving drinks. Since that was one of the three eateries I gave a shout out to I was gratified to confirm businesses along the route benefited from it, something which a just released white paper from UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs confirms as noted on Curbed L.A..

Just as the Yelp reviewers describe it...a hole in the wall. Photo: Dana Gabbard

With the CicLAvia Heart of LA due this Sunday I want to share another great place to try along the route, in this case near the MacArthur Park hub — the Bamboo Inn at 2005 W 7th St. (1 block east of Alvarado).

I pretty much agree with the reviews posted on Yelp. It is not a gourmet place. My term for it is 70s retro Americanized Chinese food. My reliables are the egg rolls, pork fried rice and almond chicken. Many of the patrons seem to especially enjoy the noodle dishes. And the patrons include folks from the neighborhood which is predominantly immigrant Central American (a guy from the kitchen often comes around and offers for $1 to sell you a mashed avocado to go with the meal). Read more…