This Sunday, 10-10-10, CicLAvia has the potential to be a historic game changing moment for Los Angeles. 7 miles of roadway, snaking from Downtown L.A. up to East Hollywood, with a terminus at Orange 20 and the Bicycle Kitchen will be made open to everyone, everyone except those in a car that is. A street closure for cars is not really a street closure, it is an opening of the street for everything else that could be done in that public space. The streets will be open from 10am to 3pm along the entire route, there is no start or stop, or phases like a marathon route. A lot of people will bike, but this is more than just a giant bicycle boulevard. This is for everyone. People can walk, jog, skate, dance, do cartwheels, jump rope, what ever you want to do, in the middle of the street.
This movement to temporarily re-purpose public streets to encourage all forms active transportation and social gathering, began in Bogota Columbia over 30 years ago. Los Angeles is also not the first North American city to experiment with the idea. However L.A. is also a city long associated with automobile dominance, and as a producer of pop culture exported around the world, is highly influential in the development of emerging cities around the globe. If even in L.A. we can close streets to cars, albeit temporarily, and fill them instead with bikes, walkers, skaters and others, I think it sets an important global precedent.
Here is what it looked like when New York had their first Ciclovia style event in 2008, called Summer Streets.
The hope is that this can become a recurring event, a cultural institution, and not just a one off moment of magic. A high turn out and successful first run, will help keep momentum going to do more, and hopefully inspire other SoCal cities to try it. So I hope you can make it out on Sunday.
For those of us on the Westside, a meet up is happening at the Bikerowave hosted by Damien Newton of LA Streetsblog to make a group pilgrimage East for CicLAvia by bike. To the start of the Mid-Day Ridazz CicLAvia Kids Ride. 8:00 meet up and 8:30 roll out from Bikerowave. I'll ride out from the Santa Monica pier by the cannon at 7:30, so if anyone from Santa Monica is interested in some company getting out to the Bikerowave, you can join me, and ride to the ride to go ride. I'm also planning to bring my in-line skates in my bags as well, because I enjoy skating in the middle of the street just as much as I do biking, sometimes even more so. It's all about people power, in what ever form or number of wheels that happens to take.
For more details check out the CicLAvia website and their blog. Hats off to the organizers, the financial contributors, the City of Los Angeles departments involved, and Mayor Villaraigosa, who made this all possible, I can't wait. Excited!