CicLAvia Event Draws 100K to Car-Free Downtown L.A.

Jose HuizarAntonio VillaraigosaEric Garcetti

LOS ANGELES (KTLA) -- Just one week after Carmageddon II, Angelinos ditched their cars and hit the streets on Sunday for Los Angeles' fifth CicLAvia event.

Organizers estimate about 100,000 bicyclists, pedestrians and skateboarders flooded much of Spring, Figueroa, West 7th and East 4th streets and beyond for what was billed as the city's biggest block party.

More than nine miles of city streets stretching from Boyle Heights to MacArthur Park and from Chinatown to Exposition Park were closed to cars for five hours.

The idea behind CicLAvia, modeled after a decades-old Bogota, Colombia movement, is to encourage people to get out of their cars and explore the city in other ways.

"This is a great way for all of us to get together as a city," City Councilman Jose Huizar said at a news conference before Sunday's event.

Los Angeles held its first CicLAvia in October 2010, blocking off more than seven miles of streets from Boyle Heights to East Hollywood.

There have been four others since, including Sunday's, and the event remains hugely popular. Another event is scheduled for October 14.

CicLAvia is now working to expand into other parts of the city and other cities in L.A. County. The route has already been inching farther and farther into South and East Los Angeles.

"People love CicLAvia because it is incredibly fun, and there is a sense of camaraderie and community that is rare for a city as large and diverse as ours," CicLAvia co-founder Aaron Paley said in a statement.

At the news conference, Councilman and mayoral candidate Eric Garcetti said he would like to see CicLAvia become a monthly event.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has also announced a new partnership with Bike Nation to bring bike rental kiosks to Westwood, Hollywood, Venice and downtown by the end of the year.

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Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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Jose HuizarAntonio VillaraigosaEric Garcetti
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