I love riding my bike. It’s one of my favorite things to do in LA, actually! I also really enjoy exploring this amazing city by foot. In addition to sidewalks and bike lanes, I have experienced most of the ped and bike paths that LA has to offer. I am learning about active transportation in graduate school, and I work for LADOT’s Bicycle Outreach and Planning Program. Naturally, as soon as people find out about my passion for walking and biking, they often ask, “Don’t you just love CicLAvia?”
Although I have lived LA for over a year, I often leave on the weekends to visit family or am busy with graduate school obligations, so I had never been to CicLAvia…
Until now! The stars aligned last weekend, and I finally made it to CicLAvia Heart of LA in Downtown.
I began my journey to CicLAvia from Union Station. A lot of my usual bus routes were on detour, so I decided to walk 1.5 miles to my destination. First, I noticed that there were a lot more people walking and biking than normal! Even the streets and sidewalks that were not blocked off for CicLAvia were teeming with families, couples on tandem bikes, and people dancing, and moving. The day was off to a good start.
Now, my experience may have been a bit different than many CicLAvia goers, because I attended not solely as a person biking, walking, or rolling, but as a volunteer. A bunch of my friends and peers in the Associated Students of Planning and Development formed a team to adopt an intersection.
Adopting an intersection means controlling pedestrian and bicycle traffic at a vehicle crossing, pedestrian crossing, or dismount zone. At least 6 volunteers are needed to work a 3-hour shift. Our task was to slow traffic on the 4th Street bridge right before the downhill to prevent people from wiping out or losing control.
Adopting an intersection also means laughing with strangers, having a great time with friends, being outside, and feeling pride in Los Angeles. I highly recommend volunteering!
Throughout the day, I saw a lot of super cool bikes. I was amazed and inspired by all of the people who have put so much effort into creating beautiful, interesting, and useful bicycles.
Thanks to people who had speakers on their person, in shopping carts, or on bikes, we listened to tunes and had sporadic dance parties. Oh, and did I mention the dogs? There were dogs in bike baskets, backpacks, and bike trailers, as well as dogs walking and jogging.
It was a glorious day for dogs and dog people! I didn’t see any cats ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Maybe next time!
There was a celebration for all of the volunteers at the end of the day, which I couldn’t make because I had to go to school for a meeting. I heard it was a lot of fun, though!
I’m glad that I can finally say that I’ve been to CicLAvia. I am really looking forward to the next one in March! The route will be announced soon. Next time, I’ll bring my bike explore the event from the different perspective. I also want to check out the other open streets events that are coming up, including Long Beach’s Beach Streets on November 12 and 626 Golden Streets in San Gabriel Valley on March 5.
Being out there with all of the people on that bridge made me think about what LA would be like if we closed the streets to cars more often. I think it would be pretty great. What do you think?
I have a feeling these folks on roller blades would like to see more open streets!