15 miles of car-free roads

On Sunday, April 21, I attended my first CicLaVia. For those unfamiliar with that, it’s an event held in Los Angeles where roads are blocked off from vehicles for a certain number of hours so that people can walk and bike in the lanes more freely. It was inspired by Ciclovías in Bogota, Colombia more than three decades ago in response to congestion and pollution.

The one that happened on Sunday is part of the sixth one in Los Angeles, and it was exciting to take part in it.

CicLaVia 2013

I started out the morning in Culver City with my friend Ann. We got onto Venice Boulevard, and immediately felt bummed beyond belief because we didn’t have any bikes. So many people were passing us on wheels that we virtually felt like the only pedestrians there.

We vowed to either purchase bikes or rent some for the next CicLaVia we attend.

Traveling along Venice Boulevard allowed us to walk Tank, Ann’s six-month-old pit puppy.

Boy, did he get a lot of attention from passersby. A few people stopped walking and stopped biking to pet him.

Tank, the pit puppy!

He was quite the trooper, I have to say. He was so full of energy and, for a period of time, was the only dog in sight.

Ann and I eventually decided to take the Metro Expo Line to Downtown LA since we had started the route backwards :/

Metro Expoline
Metro Expoline

We purchased a tap card for $1, put some money into it (fare in LA costs $1.50 per way on the Metro), and went to DTLA, where we continued walking alongside cyclists and desperately wishing that we had some bikes.

CicLaVia 2013

Southern California weather has been pretty bipolar lately. During CicLaVia it was real sunny and gave the impression that we’re really in the transition to summer. And then earlier this week, temperatures took a dip into the 70s. At one point it almost felt like early/late winter.

Anyway, off that tangent.

My last post was also about DTLA, but walking a stretch of a few miles in the area was eye opening. I’d been past some of these places before when I’ve commuted through the area, but looking around while on foot is a different experience. I found myself appreciating my surroundings a lot more and noticing things I previously hadn’t realized were there.

Ann and I stopped by MacArthur Park for a bit, where hundreds of cyclists had gathered as well, taking advantage of the shade, areas to sit, etc. We also came across some stationary bikes that produced music depending on how fast you biked. The two of us tried it for a few minutes each, so we technically did get to bike on CicLaVia day 🙂

MacArthur Park
MacArthur Park

I wonder what other states/countries have events like this, where roads are closed off for pedestrians/cyclists/skaters/rollerbladers/etc. Anyone know?

No Cars
Um… when do you ever see the streets this clear on a weekend on Downtown LA?!

One view I got of cyclists from a distance

Just thought I’d include a map of the route that day (this is from the CicLaVia website):

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