CicLAvia – The Valley: Tips For Fun, Families, Getting There, and More
1:05 PM PDT on March 18, 2015
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.
My nearly-2-year-old daughter gets carted around quite a bit in her bike seat which attaches to the back of her parents' bikes, but she needs breaks to get out and run around. Two places that make for great toddler breaks in this area:
- Weddington Park - North (10844 Acama St - not connected to Weddington Park - South - access by going west on Acama Street or Valley Spring Lane) This pleasant park has the only tot-lot I could find within a few blocks of the CicLAvia route.
- Studio City Farmers Market (8 a.m. to 2 p.m. - on Ventura Place between Laurel Canyon and Radford) The market features lots of kids activities: petting zoo, face-painting, pony rides, swings, and more.
If your kids are into the smaller-wheel things, visit the skate park at North Hollywood Park (11430 Chandler Boulevard, 91601, Google map).
TIPS ON GETTING THERE VIA TRANSIT, TRAIN, AND BIKE
The CicLAvia website and the Source outline some basics on how to get there, including parking, bus detours, etc. Orange Line BRT service will run more frequently than usual, but, like the other 363 days this year, don't count on finding an empty bus bike rack outside of Chatsworth. If you find yourself anywhere east of, say, Sepulveda, and you're on a bike, you're probably going to want to ride, instead of waiting for that mythical empty spot on the front of an Orange Line bus. Take the convenient Burbank-Chandler bikeway, AKA Orange Line bikeway. State Senator Robert Hertzberger will be leading his "Take Me to CicLAvia" feeder ride on the Orange Line bikeway; meet at the Van Nuys Orange Line Station at 7:30 a.m.
If it's convenient, there might actually be more bike racks open on the roughly parallel Ventura Boulevard Rapid Bus Line 750 [PDF], but no promises there, either. (Updated: The Ventura Blvd Rapid line does not run Sundays. Check parallel bus routes, including local Ventura Boulevard lines 150 and 240 via Metro's trip planner.) If you want to get your bike on a bus heading for CicLAvia that day, go early. Plan to arrive an hour or two early, and maybe have breakfast in the Valley.
Unlike past CicLAvias, there is only one rail transit option for getting to CicLAvia - The Valley. The only rail line is the Metro Red Line subway; the CicLAvia route runs along both the Universal and North Hollywood stations. Though there's plenty of capacity on the Red Line, at peak CicLAvia, it may well fill up. Suggestions on taking the Red Line to get there:
- Go early (and stay late) to beat the crowds on the trains
- Disembark at Universal City on your way there. Board at North Hollywood on your way home. (This is a general rule for bikes on trains all over: when choosing between two stations, it will always be easier to find a spot at, or closer to, the start of the line.)
- If you're taking Metrolink, the good news is that Metrolink staff announced that they will be running plenty of bike capacity for Sunday's event. For most lines, take trains to Union Station, transfer to the Metro Red Line at Union Station. If you're on the Metrolink Antelope Valley line, and you're willing to to bike four miles mostly along the Burbank-Chandler bike path, it will be faster to disembark at the Downtown Burbank Station and bike to NoHo (Google bike directions.)
- If you're taking the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner, note that you do need to reserve bike space in advance. It's possible to transfer to the Metro Red Line at Union Station, but, if you're willing to bike three miles mostly along the Burbank-Chandler bike path, it is likely to be easier and faster to disembark at the Burbank Airport Station and bike to NoHo (Google bike directions).
MORE STUFF TO CHECK OUT
Even with those extensive guides listed above, there are a couple more things that they omitted that Streetsblog readers may want to check out:
>> Protected Bike Lanes Coming to Chandler Boulevard
The city transportation department (LADOT) is seeking funds to upgrade the bike lane areas of the Burbank-Chandler bikeway to protected bike lanes. The protected bike lanes would extend from Vineland to Coldwater. LADOT will be demonstrating what the planned protected bike lanes will look like. They're calling Sunday's demo "Pop-Up Chandler."
>> Metro's New Tunnel and Bridge Coming Soon
Metro is doing a couple of upgrades to its Valley subway stations, with new tunnel and bridge construction underway and expected to be completed next year. See this earlier SBLA story for details.
>> NoHo's New Ped Plaza and Bike Corral
North Hollywood is one of the Valley's most pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods. Under the leadership of the North Hollywood Business Improvement District, the area has implemented quite a few small-scale livability improvements. Two recent examples that show off LADOT's People St program goods are worth seeing. There's a new bike corral in front of Laemmle's NoHo 7 movie theaters. Across the street, next to Salomi Indian Cuisine, there's a handsome new pedestrian plaza. See People St's newly-installed pedestrian wayfinding signage.
>> L.A. River Greenway
A few of the other guides mention the L.A. River, but none of them draws attention to the County of Los Angeles' Valleyheart Greenway, located in Studio City, just a couple blocks north of the CicLAvia route. The greenway extends along the south side of the river from Radford Avenue to Laurel Canyon Boulevard. It's a joint project of the County, The River Project, and nearby Carpenter Avenue Elementary School. There is native landscaping, and river-themed artwork, including a frog gate, rattlesnake wall, and butterfly bench. The park opened ten years ago, and its vegetation has grown nicely. The river in this area is an all-concrete box channel, not natural, though some ducks and other birds still inhabit it. The Valleyheart Greenway gives Angelenos a glimpse of just how pleasant our future 50+mile linear river park will be, even in places where we don't remove concrete.
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