CicLAvia Brings A New Perspective To L.A. Streets
Over 100,000 people left their cars behind as they explored 9.1 miles of city street on foot, bike, scooter, skateboard and practically any other kind of self-powered transportation imaginable.
The route passed through a number of L.A. landmarks and neighborhoods including Boyle Heights, McArthur Park, Chinatown, Exposition Park, and Little Tokyo.
Six different hubs were stationed throughout the route where people were able to eat, play and enjoy themselves with delicious food, lively music and fascinating performances. Each area had the opportunity to highlight their unique culture to a large audience of people who may not otherwise visit.
People took a break from walking and riding in the hot city sun by exploring Downtown’s new Grand Park. Families enjoyed the atmosphere as children played in the park’s fountain and parents listened to a number of live performances and sets by KCRW DJ’s.
Mariachi Plaza on the corner of First Street and Boyle embraced the spirit of community pride. Aztec dancers drew a crowd of spectators as they performed by the Metro Rail station and shared their heritage. Civic engagement also was on display as Edward Padilla, president of the Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council, encouraged locals to let their voices be heard on matters affecting their community.
Throughout the route people were able to sample some tasty treats from food trucks and neighborhood eateries. The wide variety of cuisine from many different cultures ensured that there was something to please practically anyone there.
Local vendors welcomed the new clientele they attracted through the unusually high amount of foot traffic. Many seized the opportunity to showcase their businesses by engaging passing cyclists through music, free water and snacks.
The event helped people experience the city from a unique perspective. Although many there had surely driven through those same streets many times before, there truly was something special about being able to pedal through a car-free downtown.
Some individuals chose to partake in walking tours of Boyle Heights, Little Tokyo and Spring Street. The tours, presented by CicLAvia, were designed to highlight L.A.’s “history, ecology, architecture, creativity, and playful happenstance.”
For those who wished to discover the city at their own pace, pamphlets were provided of the various architectural attractions people could explore on their own.
Ciclavías began in Bogotá, Columbia as a weekly event to promote a healthy way of living, and eventually spread to several other cities across Latin America and the U.S. City Councilman José Huizar said in a news conference that the huge support and following CicLAvia has received here in Los Angles “speaks more to promoting bicycle use in the city of L.A. than any piece of legislation we could pass.”
In a city as large and diverse as Los Angeles it is often difficult to create a sense of community and common bonding, but many of those who attended this year’s CicLAvia found they were able to come together with their fellow Angelenos through this expereince and are eagerly awaiting next year's event.
Reach Elysia Rodriguez here.