Not to take away from the awesomeness of today’s CicLAvia, but there will never be one as supremely magical as the first one, two years ago. Even if it can never be topped, I still get out with my trusty GoPro cam mounted to my handlebar and participate whenever the next edition rolls around, and today’s was no exception.
So without further adieu, here’s the timelapse vid of me riding in from Silver Lake and then casually roll every inch of the 9.5 mile route from MacArthur Park to Exposition Park, back to downtown, then to Boyle Heights, back downtown, then up into Chinatown and through downtown and to MacArthur Park (about 21 miles total over three hours):
The good news: CicLAvia is expanding into South Los Angeles and deeper into Boyle Heights. More room for more people doing more things. Sounds like this thing is a hit. Since you guys are taking time off to do a little more planning, maybe we could get this thing up to Hollywood and the Valley? Pretty please?
I’ve added CicLAvia to my list of Favorite Things To Do in L.A. If you missed the first two, I suggest you get your bike/skates/shoes ready for the next one on 7/10/11.
Here are 8 Ways CicLAvia can be even better:
1. Longer hours. Make it an all day party. Something like 8-6, or later. Imagine enjoying a Southern California sunset with 150,000 of your closest friends.
2. Extend the route. Let’s get this thing into the heart of Hollywood, take it over Cahuenga, and into the Valley. Close off Ventura Boulevard. Shop owners might be surprised how much walk-up business they would get.
3. More destinations. Set up entertainment stages along the route. Schedule local bands and performance groups. Establish a food truck zone. Farmer’s Market. Arts & crafts vendors.
4. Better traffic mitigation. LAPD needs to learn that you cannot throw up your hand and shout for 100 cyclists to stop on a dime. Maybe smile a little. People on bikes are not necessarily criminals.
5. Eliminate some of the current street crossings, like Grand, Olive, and Broadway. If you’re Downtown, you should be on foot anyway. Close Broadway to traffic and include it as part of CicLAvia. Get Bringing Back Broadway involved. What better way to raise awareness of that initiative?
6. Encourage local restaurants to be open along the route. More curbside tables and booths along the way. Set up sidewalk dining.
7. Pave the route. Pave the route. Pave the entire route, right now.
I’ve come to consider last October’s inaugural CicLAvia something of the Los Angeles cycling community’s Woodstock, both in the fact that it was a defining and shining moment for our city and also because as the years go by I get the feeling that a lot more people are going to say they were there than actually were.
Whether you were or you weren’t a part that street party spanning between East Hollywood and Boyle Heights, your chance to get out and enjoy the second CicLAvia is imminent. From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. this Sunday, April 10, the same 7.5-mile route as the first one will be closed to vehicular traffic and open to all manner of self-propellers. Be it bike, skateboard or just your feet you really should set aside some time to soak up what is such a unique and sensational experience.
Here’s a slightly remodeled version (higher res with an original soundlayer I created with the iPhone Bloom app) of the timelapse I made during part of my CicLAvia’ings from Boyle Heights back to East Hollywood:
The amazing organizers of October’s CicLAvia’s event just announced three- yes, three! – CicLAvia events: Sunday, April 10; Sunday, July 10; and Sunday, October 9. They’re hoping to expand the original route into South LA, Chinatown, and/or Boyle Heights, but permits are pending and red tape is being cut. For those of you who were not here to witness a huge chunk of LA proper shut down to traffic and open only to pedestrians, bicyclists, and random people playing hopscotch smack dab in the middle of 7th and Figueroa, check out Will Campbell’s excellent video below:
Once you figure out how to pronounce it, CicLAvia not only sounds pretty rad, it is pretty rad. A little background: ciclovías originated in Bogota, Colombia as a very civilized protest against the congestion and resulting pollution. It gave residents a little room to breathe, and a little room to roam. A continent away, Stephen Villavaso, Jenn Su, Max Podemski, Jonathan Parfrey, Aaron Paley, Adonia Lugo, Joe Linton, Daisy Lin, Sandra Hamlat, Bobby Gadda, Richard France, Colleen Corcoran, and Amanda Bromberg got together to mash ciclovías with LA. Mayor Tony was all over it. Hence, CicLAvia. In their own words:
CicLAvia creates a temporary park for free, simply by removing cars from city streets. It creates a network of connections between our neighborhoods and businesses and parks with corridors filled with fun.
The city’s first CicLAvia event was on 10/10/10. It stretched 7.5 miles, from Koreatown, through Downtown, Little Tokyo, MacArthur Park, and to the southern cusp of Los Feliz. There were no cars, only bikes and pedestrians. There was a dodgeball game near 7th and Union. A (straight) couple married. There was yoga in the now open road. Businesses along the route were packed to the gills, proving that foot traffic is better for business than can’t-find-a-place-to-park traffic. It was like Park Day times one million. It was wonderful. Will Campbell showed you exactly how wonderful it was:
Before this event, you only saw the streets of LA this empty if you were in the middle of a well-organized protest march, with proper peaceful assembly permits and what not. Happily, ten-ten-ten won’t be the last time you’ll see this emptiness: with the organizers’ lead, and a broad base of support, the next CicLAvia will be Sunday, April 10, 2011. Wait, there’s more awesome news: the organizers hope, and are planning, for at least two more events: one in July or August, and another in September or October. As if this weren’t enough, they want to expand CicLAvia beyond the original 7.5 mile route: maybe into South LA. Maybe into Chinatown. Maybe a version of CicLAvia in the Westside. The latter goal fulfilled would be a real coup: not only is it one of the most frustratingly congested parts of LA, it also can be the one of most committed to its four wheel drives.
I love my car. But really, I would like to use my car sometimes as opposed to most of the time. I don’t think we, as a city, would like to depend on our cars as much as other cities would like to think we want to depend on our cars in order to justify their stereotypes about LA. CicLAvia reminds us that our vehicles do not have to be a way of life – it just has to be a means to one. Between breaking the political willpower against an expanded subway system (seriously, what is that?) and cultivating a real biker culture, LA finally is starting to move the parts slowly towards building a viable public transit system. For taking back the streets and sharing it all with us, and for setting the stage for even more amazing car-free events to come, CicLAvia’s organizers are on our 2010 Nice List. If we could give you a nice roadster with a bow around it, we would.
Photo by ItzaFineDay, used under Creative Commons.
On Tuesday Blogging.LA’s own Will Campbell wrote about this weekend’s CicLAvia, an event happening Sunday which will close 7.5 miles of L.A. streets to motorized vehicles, turning them over to cyclists, joggers and walkers.
We’ve written about NeighborGoods before. NeighborGoods founder and CEO is my friend, Micki Krimmel (you may also know her around the ‘net as Mickipedia.) She’s come up with an innovative way to save money and help your friends and neighbors, while reducing waste and storage of unnecessary stuff. You can learn about the broader strokes here.
Here’s where it all comes together: NeighborGoods has partnered with CicLAvia, so if you don’t have a bike you can borrow one from a neighbor. Have a bike to lend? Add it to your NeighborGoods inventory to share.
Check out the bikes available and reserve one for CicLAvia. We’ll look forward to riding with you on the streets of L.A.
PS- Even if you’re not able to make it to CicLAvia, you should still sign up at NeighborGoods.net. Do a friend or neighbor a favor; loan them something they need that’s just gathering dust in your garage anyway. Hell, borrow some of my stuff. Need a power drill, but don’t want to buy one just for that one project? I’ve got two. Check it out.