California, Contemp Culture, Global, Green, Meaning, Peacemaking, Ramblings, Relational, social, Urban

CicLAvia – exploring the city by bike

This weekend I joined thousands of others in Los Angeles for the 3rd CicLAvia event. According to the website:

Ciclovías started in Bogotá, Colombia, over thirty years ago as a response to the congestion and pollution of city streets. Now they happen throughout Latin America and the United States.

Connecting communities and giving people a break from the stress of car traffic. The health benefits are immense. Ciclovías bring families outside of their homes to enjoy the streets, our largest public space. In Los Angeles we need CicLAvia more than ever. Our streets are congested with traffic, our air is polluted with toxic fumes, our children suffer from obesity and other health conditions caused by the scarcity of public space and safe, healthy transportation options. 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.

Pretty cool. Basically, LA shuts down 10.5 miles of busy city streets to cars and any other motorized/engine-run device. The streets are used primarily for bicycles, but also for skateboarders, roller bladers, runners, and dodgeball players (to be fair, this happened just off of the street, but they were heavily recruiting anyone who biked by).

Getting away from a car is the best way, hands down, to come to know a place. You see things you wouldn’t otherwise see, smell things you otherwise wouldn’t smell, hear things you wouldn’t hear, etc. You feel heat, dust, wind, etc. that cars make us immune to.

It was great to spend an afternoon biking through Los Angeles without the horrid drivers and terrible traffic. It makes you realize that the city can be a great place to live and play. The next CicLAvia is April 15, 2012, but hopefully there will be other urban explorations before then!


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