CicLAvia XIII: Pasadena Open Streets Open Thread

Yesterday was Pasadena's first CicLAvia. How did it go for you? Photos: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.
Yesterday was Pasadena’s first CicLAvia. How did it go for you? Photos: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

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?

CicLAvia Pasadena cruises past the landmark Castle Green
CicLAvia Pasadena cruises past the landmark Castle Green

More CicLAvia Pasadena photos at The Source, Boy on a Bike, and Randomness from Unbored Hands.

  • Joe Linton

    My nearly 2-year-old daughter Maeve and I had a good time… bicycling on quiet car-free streets never quite gets old for me. It did seem like the mandatory dismount zones came up quickly. Even with extra trains, the Gold Line was packed on the way there at 10:30am – though people heading to CicLAvia in a good mood on the way, not sure about the regular train users. Heading home, we skipped the train and just biked surface streets.

    Feels like the single-line CicLAvias (the Valley, Pasadena) get really crowded trains… any one have ideas on how to manage this?

  • Collin

    Metro could have run more trains, honestly. They ran at 7 1/2 minute headways, which is regular weekend service on the Goldline. Extra cars, yes, but no extra service. They could have run at 6 minute headways like they do during peak rushhour. Additionally, I think in hindsight it’s easy to say that a “ciclavia shuttle” of some sort (service between union station and memorial park) might have been a good idea for dealing with bike capacity issues. But that’s in hindsight.

  • M

    I don’t know if there’s too little need for it normally (although I think there is need given the number of bikes, luggage, wheelchairs, strollers, etc. that people bring on the cramped Gold Line cars), but also having at least 1 car that is half or fully seat free would be awesome. All of the floor space on the Gold Line cars I was on going to Pasadena and coming home was filled with bikes, but there were so many empty seats that no one could get to. Some bike-free people got on the train and wanted to sit down, but instead they just had to stand next to the doors since the aisles were completely blocked and there was pretty much no way to un-Jenga the bikes for them to get to the seats without everyone getting off with their bikes.

  • ubrayj02

    I had an awesome time with my family, friends, and all the people I got to communicate with during the event.

    All this talk of Metro trains!

    For God’s sake, people, ride yo’ bikes! Maybe instead of more trains Metro should spend money and resources making the path into and out of CicLAvia into a more inviting route for more people with some pop-up cycle tracks, sidewalks that aren’t a shambles, etc.

    It would mean that the event actually pushed beyond its excellent record of rehumanizing the way we all think about city life on its policed and designated route and instead spread its tendrils into a district and further into the imagination of the public.

    Personal high note: someone helped me finally figure out how to do a no-hands cartwheel. I’ve been trying for many months and someone gave me the right piece of advice at just the right time during CicLAvia. Our economy may be shrinking but personal growth is now at an all time high!

  • M

    Honestly from my area, there needed to be some Metro involved or else I wasn’t going to actually bike much at Ciclavia since I would need to pretty much immediately turn around (which is what some people I knew did and their Ciclavia was extremely different than mine, which is fine, but I want to maximally enjoy the route not ride for 17 miles on normal streets and then just spend 1.5 miles on the route and turning around) where I instead biked from South Pasadena (completely and reasonably doable for me and probably most people on the trains w/ bikes) and ~20 miles for the day, mostly going back and forth on the route.

    I agree that the radius for reasonable biking is larger than some people likely consider, but depending on your goals of the day, doing 15+ miles one way before showing up at Ciclavia may not be reasonable for many people, but Metro can more reasonably get people those distances there. I also don’t think it’s bad if people that aren’t used to using non-car transportation methods realize the value in bike and trains to get you someplace.

  • M

    And the kids! There are some kids (ok.. and to be honest, adults) that are just not up to biking longer distances as Ciclavia might be the only time they get on a bike and on the normal streets. We still have a LONG way to go as a society to get more of the groups that are usually a bit more risk adverse out on the roads. I love Ciclavia, but sometimes I think it helps people feel like they need more dedicated bike spaces to feel safe while biking vs. they should go out on the normal streets all the time. I was just biking on these same streets in Pasadena today and only saw 1 other person on a bike.

    I feel like I just polluted the Ciclavia thread. Sorry.


    Thank you for bringing up the crowding of bicycles (and passengers not being able to sit down) on trains going to and from CicLAvia. A few months ago, an advocate from our group attended “Metro’s Bicycle Roundtable Presentation” laying out all new projects to accommodate the growing bicycle culture in LA. He was concerned about the growing culture of people who bring their bicycle onto a train and the limited space available on each car. The situation was proposed where if the seats were removed in 1 car per train — e.g. in a ‘bikecar’ — the possibility of crowding a rail car with seats and bicycles in between them would be avoided.

    Metro is not very receptive to this issue. Bicycle storage space needs to be increased on trains. Initially, that can be a larger portion of a car as demand grows, then a half, then a full car? The future holds the answer. The question is whether Metro is ‘forward thinking.’ Or stick to their present motto on bikes on trains: “you will remember a time when bicycles were not allowed on the train at all….you should be happy to have any space.” That was Metro’s answer to a request for more bicycle space directed toward our advocate at the last meeting.


    Joe, as you are probably aware of — we are advocating for greater space for bicycles on Metrolink trains. Seems like bicycle space on Metro trains is becoming an issue (examples being the last two CicLAvia events). With this in mind, one of us should ask Metro the following question in hope of an easy and temporary solution:

    Can any of the seats on the current Metro rail car design be removed for special bicycle events like CicLAvia?

    I would like to think that Metro is starting to consider the possibility of an increasing bicycle culture on board. Unfortunately, shown below is the new ‘Kinkisharyo’ rail car design (of which 78 are being purchased) about to roll out in 2017. As one can see there is the same limited space for bicycle storage — not good. With this design in mind, three questions that Metro should answer regarding bicycle storage are:

    1) Can the seats easily be removed for greater bicycle storage without compromising the structural integrity of the rail car?

    2) If not, why was this not a consideration in designing rail cars?

    3) How many years into the future are the ‘Kinkisharyo’ rail cars (with inadequate bicycle storage) projected to support the changing bicycle culture in LA?

    More information would be greatly appreciated from Metro to the public on this growing problem.

  • Velodrone

    This was my first time running/walking a Ciclavia. Was very immersive running in the street alongside all the bikes in the middle of the road. The shorter route made for a more crowded street but I liked it since it slowed down the pace for everyone, preventing some cyclists from treating Ciclavia as a glorified training route.

  • calwatch

    It’s certainly telling when there were about 20 bicycles denied boarding at South Pasadena station going northbound due to bicycle congestion, when South Pasadena is literally two miles or so away from the start of the event.

  • calwatch

    On the other hand, I tend to agree with Metro staff that have stated that the purpose of Metro Rail is to carry people, not bicycles. Any event like Ciclavia is going to tax the system. If this situation was happening routinely, it would warrant a reconfiguration of the seats. It isn’t.

    As a long term resolution of ridership issues (not just for bicycles), Metro could go to 2+1 seating, which would at least allow for bicycles to be stored in the aisle without blocking ingress and egress and/or create more standing room for major events. But I think that many people would use bike lockers or bike share if it were available to them. The current bike racks, like almost all bike racks at transit stations in the US, are basically swap meets for thieves. The Bay Area has electronic bike lockers which have been wildly successful.

  • M

    Yeah, but that doesn’t necessarily address/acknowledge the other crap people carry with them on the trains and the issues that creates if you just say “we move people.” I know strollers are important for some people, but I look at some of the models people have and they literally take up the space of 2-3 people in order to carry a tiny human that may or may not even be in the stroller at the moment. Metro also has their employees boarding the trains with their little carts for cleaning out the trash cans/cleaning up the stations throughout the day, which as soon as they get on a train, it can become an issue if there’s someone on the train with a wheelchair (I see more electric wheelchairs these days than non and they are often rather large and bulky as well.) If a train ever is created that does go to the airport, you can bet there would be even more people riding with luggage than there already is and again, it doesn’t take that many people with suitcases to completely block the aisles.

    I rode the Red and Gold Line daily for years and these things were constantly issues during the rush hour times I was on.

    Maybe once we have awesome lockers and a complete bike share system (which even the article published today won’t really help most people in LA since many don’t live/work in downtown) or a public transportation system that is so complete/so frequent/with extended hours such that people don’t have to cover the last few miles on their own or they don’t have to figure out a different way home since the bus/train isn’t running once they are done, we can add more seats, but until this time comes (which might never), removing seats seems like a good solution.

  • calwatch

    I think 2+1 seating on one half of the train might solve many of the issues, as well as provide more seating room. The problem comes when people are riding for 60-90 minutes on a single light rail car from Montclair to Highland Park or from Santa Monica to East LA. Those people will need seating for at least part of the trip.


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