What is CicLAvia?
Inspired by Ciclovía, the original, weekly street closure event in Bogotá, Colombia, CicLAvia will work to address five core pressing issues present throughout all of Los Angeles: Public Space, Public Health, Community and Economic Development, and Pedestrian and Bicycle Advocacy. As a recurring free event, set for the same day/time every week or month, CicLAvía will allow for the temporary closure of interconnected routes throughout the region, creating a web of public space on which residents of Los Angeles will be able to walk, bike, socialize, celebrate, and learn about new cultures and neighborhoods. Similar events have successfully occurred in other US cities, such as Portland, New York, and San Francisco. Bogotá’s Ciclovía has also inspired copycat programs in Mexico City, Guadalajara, Quito, Ecuador, and Melbourne.
Who makes it happen?
In every city where Ciclovía-like events have been a success, the city governments have supported those efforts. In Bogotá, mayors Antanas Mockus and Enrique Peñalosa were instrumental in starting Ciclovía. In San Francisco, “Sunday Streets” is presented by the Municipal Transportation Agency and a local transportation nonprofit. In New York City, “Summer Streets” is lead by the New York City Department of Transportation. In Los Angeles, CicLAvía will require the support of the City, its agencies, and other municipalities to make this event a reality.
Why does LA need this?
The positive reverberations from the proposed CicLAvía directly address five core issues facing all of Los Angeles:
Los Angeles is considered the most “park poor” of all major cities in the United States. Public space is in short supply and existing public space suffers consequentially as undervalued, overlooked, and underfinanced. As a makeshift, temporary public space created from the streets, the route for CicLAvía will present Angelenos with newfound common ground on which to congregate and enjoy this democratic, outdoor activity. As with any successful public space, the route will offer participants a diversity of reasons to visit CicLAvía. Through the organic growth of the event, participants will continually discover new purposes for converging along the route. Whether one’s objective is to bike, stroll, picnic, or people watch, this temporary public space will help to alleviate the lack of places throughout the city where all populations can enjoy gathering as a community.
Intertwined with the lack of public space throughout Los Angeles, public health has become an overwhelming concern for civic leaders and the public at large. LA’s deep-seated car culture has largely contributed to the region’s poor air quality and has turned many once-walkable and bikable neighborhoods into vehicular thoroughfares. Coupled with this is the obesity epidemic striking every demographic of America, especially our kids, and setting the stage for enormous public heath problems in coming years.
CicLAvía has the potential to shift the public’s perception of the Los Angeles landscape from one maintained specifically for cars to one that offers its citizens a plethora of recreational opportunities. Those usually intimidated by the vehicular traffic will be able to experience the joys of outdoor activity. Children will be enticed to join the fun, simply because there are other kids doing the same. Just as crucial to the overall health of our region, this weekly or monthly event will present Angelenos with a more environmentally sustainable way to travel, and in the long run, reduce gas emissions throughout the city, particularly for short trips.
Community and Economic Development:
CicLAvía is sure to be a source of civic pride for not only the neighborhoods through which it traverses, but the entire region. On a micro level, CicLAvía presents neighborhoods with the opportunity to form strategic alliances to strengthen their visibility for the actual event. Residents may become more familiar with the resources in their community – storeowners may attract a new clientele. Most importantly, however, community members may begin to view their neighborhood as a walkable and bikable place. On a larger scale, CicLAvía will likely bring different populations and neighborhoods together, working to celebrate the diversity and multiculturalism that is Los Angeles.
Pedestrian and Bicycle Advocacy:
CicLAvía may become the single most important pedestrian and bicycle advocacy tool that Los Angeles has ever seen. By ridding the streets of car activity, albeit on a temporary basis, CicLAvía will offer Angelenos a safe environment in which to recreate and enjoy their urban landscape. CicLAvía will educate citizens on how to navigate the City streets without the use of a car – it will expose Angelenos to the City’s existing bicycle, pedestrian, and public transit infrastructure. This recurring event will present the streets as a means for physical activity, while offering a more sustainable alternative to driving. CicLAvía will finally allow Angelenos to view their streets as more than just thoroughfares for their gas-guzzling vehicles… it will literally allow them to take back the streets!
What route for LA?
The ideal CicLAvía route should connect diverse and dense neighborhoods with limited access to parks. A long-term vision of the project should be to create a web of CicLAvía routes throughout different parts of the City and the region, helping to physically connect this vast metropolis.
The implementation of a pilot CicLAvía project in Los Angeles will require the support of the community and businesses, as well as the City and its leaders. Strategic partners and fiscal sponsors are crucial to the success of CicLAvía’s short and long-term goals. The CicLAvía planning committee is currently garnering this community, government, and corporate backing.
To learn more about how you can get involved in Los Angeles’ first CicLAvía, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org