Create a car-free Sunday in the capital of car culture — without spending a dime.

Less than two months after City Council Transportation Committee Bill Rosendahl famously declared an end to car culture, the movement that brought 36 years of car-free Sundays to Colombia’s capital is preparing to make it’s way to SoCal’s erstwhile car culture capital.

And you can help bring it here.

For those who aren’t familiar with it, ciclovía had its birth with a small street closure in Bogotá in 1974. Now the city closes over 70 miles of city streets to car traffic every Sunday, allowing more than 30% of local residents to safely retake the city for a few hours each week.

The movement has slowly spread north, to cities as varied as New York, San Francisco and Guadalajara. And if everything goes according to plan, CicLAvia will make its official L.A. debut this September.

According to the CicLAvia organization,

CicLAvia proposes to temporarily open 7.5 miles of streets in Los Angeles on Sunday mornings to pedestrians, cyclists, skateboarders, dog walkers, families, and anyone who can imagine a new way to use the street. This temporary park space will occur on Sunday mornings from 10am-1pm. The roads will be car-free, thus providing residents with a recreational space, and the opportunity to view their city from a whole new perspective. Our proposed route connects Los Angeles from East to West through some of the most densely populated neighborhoods. The route is easily accessible by transit so that residents from across LA County will be able to attend.

On September 12th, the city is scheduled to shut down a network of streets to vehicular traffic, stretching from the light rail station at 1st and Soto in Boyle Heights to the Bicycle Kitchen in the HelMel district of East Hollywood.

And yes, before anyone panics, the LAPD and LADOT will maintain key crossing points, allowing emergency access and keeping traffic flowing through the city.

Besides, the closure will only take place for a few hours — and on a Sunday, no less — when L.A. streets are virtually abandoned anyway, with much of the city still nursing a hangover. And it’s not like Los Angeles doesn’t shut down busier roads, and for longer periods.

The idea is to give the city back to the people, creating an impromptu street fest with artists, musicians and community members participating at various points along the way, while allowing Angelenos to experience their city in a way never before possible.

Assuming the first one goes well, there are plans for another CicLAvia later in the year, followed by more next year. Organizers hope a successful series of event will lead other local cities to hold their own, creating a network of ciclovias that could be linked by local bikeways.

And you can help.

Right now, without ever leaving the comfort of your own computer, laptop, iPhone or other assorted internet-enabled communication device.

Just click here, and you’ll be instantly transported to the CicLAvia page on the Pepsi Refresh Project, where you can vote to secure a $50,000 donation to help cover the cost of staging the event. That’s $50,000 for doing nothing more than clicking on a link and signing on using your Facebook account or signing up with Pepsi Refresh.

You’re urged to vote early and often — up to 10 times a day, every day, through the end of March.

Which means you can spread your vote around to help support other worthy causes. Or do what I’m doing, and come back throughout the day to concentrate your support for CicLAvia and help ensure it really, truly happens, unlike so many promising plans that have fallen by the wayside over the years.

And that it’s successful so we can look forward to many more.

Best of all, it won’t cost you a cent.

Even I can afford that.

……….

Looks like LA will finally get its first sharrows by summer. Bike Kitchen celebrates its fifth anniversary with a bike ride and potluck; meanwhile, Bike Kitchen founder Jimmy Lizama discovers first hand the LAPD’s new attitude hasn’t made it down to the street level just yet. Good luck finding designated bike parking at LA Live. Lose weight fast on the car-free diet. Drive a car and you might kill someone; ride a bike, not so much. A bike in a snowdrift, or a fossil frozen in time? For once, New York cyclists are jealous of L.A., thanks to our new bike-friendly chief. Portland offers a new right-side left turn lane for bikes, while National Geographic Traveler names Portland the best cycling city in America; well, duh. Colorado’s cycling governor breaks multiple ribs in a crash with other riders; meanwhile, the state considers a mandatory helmet law for children. Cycling through the frozen tundra on Alaska’s Iditarod Trail. Wired tours the home of the world’s best bike saddle. More bike lanes in a Lancashire town might have saved the life of an 83-year old woman. Britain’s John O’Groats to Land’s End celebrity ride gets off to a rough start when one of the celebs falls before the ride even begins. It might save your life someday — a new car airbag designed to protect a cyclist in a crash begins preliminary testing in Amsterdam. New Zealand’s nude cyclist gets the court’s official blessing.

Finally, the 10 best songs about bicycling. And a sad goodbye to Bobby Espinoza, master of the Hammond B3 for the groundbreaking East L.A band El Chicano.

So Tell Her She’s Lovely one last time.

7 comments

  1. […] Ted Rogers (or is that bikinginla’s tedrogers?) had this to say at his post entitled Create a car-free Sunday in the capital of car culture — without spending a dime: The idea is to give the city back to the people, creating an impromptu street fest with artists, […]

  2. […] Vote for CicLAvia (Biking in L.A.) […]

  3. emerald says:

    great post! just fyi…country = COLOMBIA…Columbia is the university!

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