Chandler Bike Path Well Used By Hundreds For This Year’s CicLAvia Event

By On March 25, 2015

CicLAvia – the Valley, Metro’s game-changing open-streets event held Sunday in the San Fernando Valley, may be one for the L.A history books as the actual biggest man-made event ever to take place in the Valley.

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

On Sunday, an estimated 50,000  or more bicycle riders, walkers, skaters, strollers and more, took to “open streets,” or special routes closed to motor vehicles between Metro’s Red Line Station in North Hollywood and the Sportsmen’s Lodge on Ventura Boulevard in Studio City when the 12th CicLAvia took place for the first time in the San Fernando Valley.

Bicyclists were greeted with slightly cloudy skies and bicycle-riding-perfect temperatures in the low 70s. The 5.5 mile route, which was open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., connected the communities of Studio City, Universal City and North Hollywood via Ventura Boulevard from Coldwater Canyon Boulevard to Lankershim Boulevard to Chandler Boulevard in the North.

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

During the course of a single day, San Fernando Valley transformed itself into a display of people powered mobility the likes of which should make even Southern California’s most car-sodden culture sit up and take notice.

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“This CicLAvia revealed to us just how pervasively our cars, with their ever-present parking needs, put limitations on additional local business and community growth.

“This particular CicLAvia clearly shows that bicycles have the potential to increase customer street parking capability by ten-fold or more,” says Patrick Dickson, Policy and Planning Director for Walk Bike Burbank, the local chapter of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition.  “With ten or more bicycles neatly parked in a street space usually occupied by one automobile, people all along the Valley route were conveniently accommodated, while many local shop keepers experienced record-breaking sales from large amounts of people simply able to conveniently park and shop.”

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“Even this event itself would not have been possible if it weren’t for the bicycle. There is simply not enough parking space to accommodate an event of 75,000 or more people anywhere in the San Fernando Valley if everyone drove their cars,” Dickson adds.

CicLAvia – The Valley, open-streets event is sponsored by LA Metro and modeled after Bogotá Colombia’s highly successful Ciclovias, dating back to the 1980s.

Faced with growing traffic concerns, Bogotá’s Mayor and City Council in a bold experiment opened many of the city’s main thoroughfare streets exclusively to human-powered mobility on every Sunday.  These early Bogotá bike routes were simply dubbed “cycle ways,” or, in Spanish, “ciclovias.”  Cities all over the world in Australia, South and Central Americas,  Europe, India, Israel and more all began similar local community “Ciclovias” with equally impressive results.

L.A.’s first CicLAvia in 2010 began with a route that went from East Hollywood to Hollenbeck Park.  From this initial event, with participation of several thousand people, to its meteoric rise which now include nearly 50,000 or more in many various L.A. locations speaks to the public’s overwhelming desire for active mobility options.

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Initially event organizers met pockets of localized resistance to closing streets to automobiles for a day.  After the first cicLAvia, however, residents and merchants quickly saw the value of supporting open-street CicLAvias

Metro supports people-powered mobility options such as those showcased by CicLAvia to be a real and viable solution to too many cars on already overly-saturated L.A. County streets.   L.A. County residents are quickly coming to the understanding that by simply building more and wider roads, it cannot accommodate more and more automobiles – we’re coming to grips that it offers an unsustainable path to the future.  All reasonable people can agree – too-much-traffic is a problem that cannot be addressed by putting more cars on the road.

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Burbank will soon have its own upcoming opportunities to be included in future Valley CicLAvias.  Local merchants and city leaders have already begun preliminary exploration for such possibilities here.  The community’s willingness to be included in future CicLAvias will help assure Burbank’s community participation.  Several merchants and organizations have already expressed interest and willingness to be part of future CicLAvias, and with growing community support for CicLAvia’s, Burbank may be playing host to a piece of this epic wheel-whirring event.

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