CicLAvia: When it’s OK to Play in the Street
Yesterday, over a hundred thousand Los Angeles residents turned out for the second-ever cicLAvia. Envisioned as a way to get busy Angelenos out of their cars and into the streets together, cicLAvia opens up a 7.5 mile route along our city streets, allowing cyclists, skaters, and pedestrians to enjoy a car-free LA.
Ciclovías originated in Bogotá, Colombia over thirty years ago in response to traffic, congestion, and poor air quality. Now they are fun, family-friendly recreational events taking place in cities all across the U.S. and Latin America. I was proud to host the first Los Angeles cicLAvia last year, and our second one has already proven to be an even bigger success.
I can’t tell you how many happy, smiling faces I encountered on my ride yesterday. People weren’t just happy to be outside — safely enjoying our streets — they were happy to be interacting with their neighbors and supporting local businesses along the route. As Angelenos, we spend so much time in our cars we often forget that walking or biking or skating isn’t just a great way to exercise, it’s a great way to get to know and enjoy our many vibrant neighborhoods.
With that in mind, I was thrilled to sign the 2010 Bike Plan into law last month. This visionary plan will transform Los Angeles with 1,600 miles of open, ride-able surfaces. The plan will make cycling a more viable transportation option for countless commuters, encourage more healthy habits and recreational opportunities, and build more sustainable communities. With this plan, we are literally paving the way to a 21st century Los Angeles: a cleaner, greener, more bicycle and pedestrian friendly city that is home to a number of viable transportation options. In the meantime, I hope to enjoy many more cicLAvias, because we can only build the Los Angeles of the future tomorrow if we come together to envision it today.