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CicLAvia: 9th edition of popular event gets underway Sunday

The idea is to get Angelenos to abandon their cars for the day in favor of bicycles, skates and walking shoes.

On Sunday, tens of thousands of area residents are expected to participate in the ninth edition of the popular CicLAvia festival that will turn a six-mile stretch of Wilshire Boulevard into a car-free zone.

The route from One Wilshire in downtown Los Angeles to the Miracle Mile-area west of Hauser Boulevard will be closed to motorists for the free event from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Planners have arranged for food trucks along the route. At the Wiltern Theatre, at Western Avenue, docents will be stationed to provide history lessons on the historic Art Deco landmark. Outside the Wilshire Royale building, the Heart of Los Angeles — a group dedicated to youth arts programs — will host jazz and rock bands and provide chalk for the public to create sidewalk art.

The weather is expected to be warm, with temperatures in the mid-80s, and participants are advised to bring water and sunscreen, said Robert Gard, a spokesman for the event.

Ciclovias, as they are known in Spanish, started in Bogota, Colombia, more than 30 years ago as a response to increasing congestion and pollution. The festivals, which have spread throughout the United States and Latin America, are intended to promote health and a clean environment.

But organizers said L.A.'s CicLAvia also gives locals a chance to rediscover their city and community by leaving their cars home for the day.

The festival is held several times a year in different locations around the city. But thanks to new foundation funding and help from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, organizers hope to make CicLAvia a monthly event by 2017.


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