Los Angeles is supposed to be a city where the car rules supreme and cyclists and pedestrians take a backseat to the needs of motorists. CicLAvia has an antidote to that car-centric notion.
Free, open to all, and with no registration required, it’s hoped CicLAvia gives people the opportunity to experience the city in a new way, while also promoting health and a wider discussion about how to use urban spaces in new and creative ways.
The next CicLAvia is this Sunday, October October 5th. Titled “Heart of L.A.,”the route will extend from Echo Park through downtown L.A.’s historic core to Boyle Heights and into East Los Angeles just outside of the borders of the City of L.A. Like other CicLAvia’s there will also be a smorgasbord of cultural activities, like an arts and culture festival in Grand Park and a children’s play area at the East L.A’ Civic Center.
We spoke to the Co-founder and executive director of CicLAvia Aaron Paley.
KCRW: What’s the importance of you jutting out this far east, into East LA and out of the City of Los Angeles proper?
AARON PALEY: We are showing tha this idea is bigger than the city of LA. We’re showing that CicLAvia is going to be all throughout the county of Los Angeles. You’re going to start seeing open streets see events that are similar to CicLAvia, but under different names happening under different management in different parts of the county.
KCRW: You have offspring now?
AP: We have offspring. I talk about it like the farmers’ market model. Twenty-five years ago there was the Santa Monica Farmers market and then came the Hollywood Farmers Market, those were the two ancestors. Now every neighborhood in the county of LA wants its own farmers market. Thats what’s going on with this project. People really want this to come to their neighborhood and we’re at CicLAvia, we’re going to be will be in places like Culver City, Pasadena, Huntington Park, County of LA, you’re going to see us in all kinds of places that you haven’t seen us yet.
KCRW: I’ve done a couple of the events myself, and people are obviously having a great time. I was on a bike, riding by drivers who weren’t happy with it, weren’t happy with the street closures. And as you have more of these things, do you acknowledge that some people are going to react to this with anger and frustration?
AP: Yes, Ciclavia comes along and we can be an inconvenience. What we want motorists to understand is that you can cross CicLAvia, unlike the Marathon, there are places to cross and there are designated streets that go across the route pretty much every mile, so you’re never going to be detoured too greatly. You should definitely know about it and you should plan for it just like you plan for any other thing in Los Angeles. I hope that as few people as possible are stuck in traffic and frustrated and I hope that is greatly outweighed by the tens of thousands of people who are enjoying the city in a whole new way.