Spotlight on: Oaklavía

April 19, 2010 at 3:18 pm Leave a comment

Here at cicLAvia, we often look to other cities for guidance and inspiration in organizing an exciting ciclovía program for Los Angeles.  We’ve been closely following our friends 350 miles to the north in San Francisco, who are well into their third year of ciclovía programming.  With plans for 9 ciclovías this year, Sunday Streets SF held their third event of the season yesterday, closing off nearly 4 miles of streets to car traffic in the city’s Bayview District.

Summer Streets SF by flickr user edgehill

Thanks to the success of San Francisco’s program, ciclovía fever has spread across the Bay to Oakland.  As an East Bay native, I was thrilled to learn that Oakland will be launching their own ciclovía program (which they’re calling Oaklavía) this year, with a pilot event from West Oakland through Downtown Oakland to Jack London Square scheduled for June 27. I caught up with Oaklavía organizer Karen Hester via e-mail to see how the planning is going:

What is your name and role in organizing Oaklavía?
Karen Hester, event organizer hired by WOBO (Walk Oakland Bike Oakland) to organize Oaklavía: Come Play in the Streets.

What has your city’s role been in making Oaklavía happen?
We have gotten some support in-kind for barricades from the bike and pedestrian department [of the city] and verbal support from some City Council members.

What are the goals of this event?
WOBO is excited to give Sunday Streets some Oakland flair – Oaklavía will take the concept of street festival to the next level, allowing residents to experience the city’s best natural and architectural assets, outdoor activities, and arts in some of our most well-loved and unique streets and neighborhoods.

How long is your proposed route and how was the route selected?
Less than 2 miles, and we worked to find a route that was short but compact, traveled through different neighborhoods, and gave an overall experience of Oakland.

What kinds of activities do you plan on having at Oaklavía?
Activities will include live music, dance, and capoeira classes, and bicycle safety and maintenance courses [as well as] free bike repair, roller derby, flash mobs, circus arts and art bikes.

What is your expected attendance?
10 to 15 thousand.

How closely have you been working with SF’s Sunday Streets Program?  What are some things you have learned from their experiences?
Very closely–we’ve met with their coordinator, and I shadowed her at the first event of the year, and we are sending volunteers to learn how they train and use volunteers.

Thanks, Karen!  We’ll be rooting for you on June 27!


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