September 9, 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
LOS ANGELES – Following an extensive search, the CicLAvia board of directors has found the organization’s new Executive Director from within their own ranks. CicLAvia, which produces the largest open streets events in North America, is pleased to announce that Romel Pascual will be the organization’s new executive director. Pascual takes over for co-founder and longtime executive director Aaron Paley, who will remain deeply involved in the organization as executive producer.
Pascual has been a key figure behind the scenes at CicLAvia for nearly six years. As Deputy Mayor for Energy and Environment during the administration of former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, his leadership at the city helped the organization and the event gain traction within the city in CicLAvia’s fledgling years. Pascual successfully merged the mayor’s vision and CicLAvia’s mission to help create what is now a city institution that transforms communities throughout the region. Pascual joined CicLAvia as a board member in 2013 after leaving the Villaraigosa administration.
“CicLAvia is one of the best things about LA and the region. It’s about reimagining what is possible and delivering what is memorable and transformative,” said Pascual, who grew up in LA. “I’ve been involved with CicLAvia from the first day, and I’m honored to be chosen as the new executive director for the organization. This is a dream job with a great board, talented staff and a strong track record of success.”
“The board firmly and unanimously believes that Romel will take us to a stronger position of organizational sustainability and community impact,” said CicLAvia board chair Stephen Villavaso.
“Romel is the perfect person for the next phase of CicLAvia,” added board member and CicLAvia co-founder Jonathan Parfrey. “He is known as a leader and a partnership builder, and we are fortunate that he also understands CicLAvia’s mission on such a deep, personal level.”
Pascual has a masters degree in urban planning and has a long history championing environmental, energy, sustainability and social justice issues in both the non-profit and the public sector. He was the first Assistant Secretary of Environmental Justice under former California Governor Gray Davis. He led the environmental justice program at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 9 - Western U.S., Hawaii and the Pacific Territories. In addition to his former role as CicLAvia board member, Pascual serves on the advisory boards of the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation, Los Angeles Clean Tech Incubator and Los Angeles Sustainability Collaborative. He also served on the boards of the Los Angeles Neighborhood Initiative and was Vice-Chair of Urban Habitat.
Paley will continue to work closely on CicLAvia route planning and logistics as the president of Community Arts Resources – CicLAvia’s contracted event producer. The transition away from executive director will allow him to focus on Community Arts Resources, a company he cofounded with Katie Bergin more than 25 years ago. Community Arts Resources produces a number of large-scale events throughout the region, including the Santa Monica Festival, Re:Imagine Garden Grove, family festivals at the Getty Museum, and more.
“I’m thrilled that the board has found the perfect person to lead CicLAvia. Romel’s intimate knowledge of CicLAvia and our collaborative relationships with local government means we will not miss a beat during this transition,” said Paley. “I’m happy to help produce the events in a behind-the-scenes role and look forward to supporting the initiatives Romel undertakes.”
Since its first event on October 10, 2010, CicLAvia has become the largest and best-attended open streets event in the United States, with tens of thousands of people enjoying each of the dozen CicLAvia events to date. As car-centric streets are transformed into temporary public space, participants are able to experience the city by biking, walking, skating and using other forms of non-motorized transportation. Propelled by a strong founding partnership with the City of Los Angeles and subsequently with Metro, CicLAvia has galvanized the conversation about the kind of city Los Angeles can become with greater car-free options. CicLAvia’s success is now a model for other open streets events around the world.
In less than five years, CicLAvia has grown from a coalition of volunteers to a formal nonprofit with an annual budget of $2 million and growing. The organization has produced fourteen events in dozens of neighborhoods and communities throughout Los Angeles County and has attracted more than a million attendees to 103 miles of car-free streets.
CicLAvia has been cited by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and the Los Angeles Department of Transportation as a catalyst for changing how Angelenos view their city streets, and for inspiring policy and infrastructure decisions at the government level. The organization has helped to inspire the city’s budding Great Streets movement as well as its Mobility Plan 2035, while introducing new audiences to the ease of public and active transportation, as well as the impressive cultural and civic assets that exist among the many neighborhoods of Los Angeles County.
CicLAvia catalyzes vibrant public spaces, active transportation and good health through car-free streets. CicLAvia engages with people to transform our relationship with our communities and with each other. With the full support of Metro, local governments, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, the Los Angeles City Council, Police Department, Fire Department, Department of Transportation, the Department of Water and Power, and the Department of Parks and Recreation, CicLAvia is an innovative model for creating new public space and enriching civic life. CicLAvia is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization.
Partners include Metro, the City of Los Angeles, the Wasserman Foundation and an Anonymous benefactor. Supporters include the Annenberg Foundation, Ralph M. Parsons Foundation, Rosenthal Family Foundation, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, and the Durfee Foundation. Sponsors include Los Angeles County Department of Water and Power, David Bohnett Foundation, Roth Family Foundation, Southern California Gas Company and the Laemmle Charitable Foundation.
About Community Arts Resources
Based in Los Angeles, Community Arts Resources partners with neighborhoods, nonprofits, foundations, cities, cultural institutions, developers and designers to create public programs and events that highlight the unique character and untapped potential of a particular place. Community Arts Resources designs new public spaces and active transportation improvements, as we as develops creative approaches to neighborhood economic improvement. They experiment with progressive planning strategies, employing temporary tactical interventions.