MOTU Goes to Los Angeles

One of MOTU’s Planner/Analysts, Ema Yamamoto, was recently in Los Angeles on vacation and she stopped by CicLAvia’s first event of the year!

What is CicLAvia?

CicLAvia is a series of events in Los Angeles where a route is closed to vehicular traffic and opened up to all non-motorized modes.  This particular event occurred on Sunday, April 21st, and it closed 15 miles of road from Downtown LA to Venice Beach, as shown in the image below (original image can be found here).

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CicLAvia is modeled on ciclovias (which, translated from Spanish, means bikeways) which have been occurring in Bogota, Colombia for the last 30 years.

Traveling to the Event

Ema Yamamoto decided that while she was in Los Angeles visiting friends that she would go to CicLAvia and find out what the hype was all about.  While LA may be stereotypically synonymous with the car, it was really easy to access CicLAvia without one!  In order to get there, Ema first rode her bike to the nearest metro stop.

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Ema Yamamoto waits for the Metro with her bike.

Ema was pleasantly surprised to find that bicycles were allowed on all trains and that Metro was also running longer trains in order to accommodate the number of cyclists using transit to attend CicLAvia.  This being said, there were so many cyclists on the first train that there was not enough room for her and her bike so she waited for the next train to come.  Luckily it was a short 6 minute wait between trains.

After about 15 minutes on the Metro, Ema got off at the Union Station stop.  There were volunteers and police officers directing the traffic inside the station to make it easy for those with bicycles to maneuver the crowd.

What was the event like?

Once out from the station, Ema joined the ride!  This event was CicLAvia’s largest to date with over 180,000 people participating.  Here are some pictures from the ride:

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Our bike riding friend found the event incredibly well-attended and well-staffed.  There were points when car traffic needed to cross the CicLAvia route and those areas had large signs instructing bicyclists on how to stay safe:

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The above image shows a CicLAvia volunteer holding up signs telling bicyclists to dismount because of sharp turns and traffic intersections.  Volunteers and traffic officers were on hand providing assistance and guidance along the way.

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Along the route were several hubs that had tents with CicLAvia information, free bike repair (such as shown above), and first aid assistance.  These were also areas where food trucks were clustered.  These hubs made the ride safe, fun, and delicious.

Overall, it was a beautiful day for a ride and wonderful way for Ema to see and explore Los Angeles.

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Take-Aways

  • There are a lot of really amazing bikes in Los Angeles and some of them were at CicLAvia.  Here is an example.
  • This route meandered through a variety of different neighborhoods and really allowed everyone from hardcore cyclists to families with kids to get out, participate, and see LA in a different way.
  • While Philly does not have an official ciclovia type of event, it does shut down West River Drive / MLK Drive to vehicular traffic every weekend during the summer.

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