Interactive iPhone app debuts at “CicLAvia the Valley”

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CicLAvia offers cyclists and pedestrians a chance to experience a car-free Los Angeles. Photo by Avishay Artsy

CicLAvia – the festival that lets bicyclists and pedestrians take over city streets – will be held in the San Fernando Valley on Sunday, March 22, 2015.

CicLAvia opens up parts of the city for people to experience without cars. Since 2010 it’s been held in downtown LA, South LA, Boyle Heights, along Wilshire Boulevard and other areas, but Sunday will be the first time it’s held in the Valley.

As people walk the six-mile route down Lankershim and Ventura Boulevards in North Hollywood and Studio City, they can use a free iPhone app called “Walk With Me.” It melds music, natural sounds and interviews.

“Walk with Me” was developed by Dutch composers Rob van Rijswijk and Jeroen Strijbos, with funding from LA’s Department of Cultural Affairs. The app uses the phone’s GPS, so the user’s location triggers different music and interview clips.

“And this changes sound, so volume can go up or reverb can grow or die away, other sounds pop up, you’re actually, as a listener and as a walker, you’re in dialogue with the composition,” van Rijswijk said.

CicLAvia executive director Aaron Paley, a native of the Valley, says the “Walk With Me” creators talked to longtime Valley residents and used historical audio as well.

“My mother is in it, talking about when my family first moved to the Valley in 1959, and her impressions of the neighborhood, or Greg Laemmle, talking about what it was like for him to build his cinema on Lankershim, as well as a press conference that Amelia Earhart did, because she was living in that neighborhood in North Hollywood when she made her ill-fated, round-the-world flight,” Paley said.

Poet Lewis MacAdams and LA historian Kevin Roderick are featured as well. The app can be downloaded and used whenever, not just at CicLAvia.