CicLAvia started as a grassroots initiative in 2008 as the outgrowth of discussions held by a number of individuals who recognized that open streets events could address active transportation, urban land use and public health needs in Los Angeles. Inspired by the ciclovía events that started 40 years ago in Bogotá, Colombia, the first CicLAvia was held on October 10, 2010. Four years and ten CicLAvias later, hundreds of thousands of people have explored more than 100 miles of open streets in Los Angeles.
Momentum has rapidly propelled CicLAvia to become the largest event of its kind in the United States and a leader in the global open streets movement. CicLAvia closes the streets to car traffic and opens them to people, turning the streets into a playground for Angelenos, and connecting people across all communities on car free streets regardless of geographic location, economic class, culture, ethnicities, educational background or age. CicLAvia allows Angelenos to envision an alternative future for Los Angeles – a bike and pedestrian friendly city, a healthy city with alternative transportation beyond the single-passenger automobile.
CicLAvia represents “tactical urbanism” at its best. The organization invites hundreds of thousands of people a year to experience LA in a new way. Statistics show increased public transportation usage on CicLAvia day, increased business revenue along each route the day of the event, and increased health benefits as a large temporary urban park takes shape for those few hours.
Most importantly, CicLAvia is changing people’s attitudes, behaviors and the public conversation regarding alternative transportation, health and wellness, public spaces and community engagement. Countless stories have been shared on CicLAvia’s Facebook page and at CicLAvia events illustrating how participants have made changes in their daily lives regarding transportation habits and behaviors because of their participation in CicLAvia.