South LA Recap Blog

It was a crisp, December morning on the streets of South LA when the 42nd CicLAvia Sunday kicked off with remarks by CicLAvia Executive Director, Romel Pascual. Before passing it off to LA’s 42nd Mayor, Eric Garcetti, Romel acknowledged that it was also his last CicLAvia as Mayor of Los Angeles. Romel thanked him for his longtime support and said, “Mayor Garcetti was there from the very beginning. When CicLAvia started in 2010 he was the president of the city council and he took the leadership and said, ‘Why not … why can't the city of LA have the same type of experiences around people powered mobility, open streets, no cars on the road for one day, like the cities of Bogotá, Medellín, and Mexico City?’”

Despite the sporadic showers and overcast weather, your bright smiles warmed our hearts and made the last CicLAvia of 2022 a great one. At the end of the day, there’s no such thing as terrible weather, only your approach towards it.

Along with speeches from Mayor Garcetti, we also heard from Council-member Curren Price, Connie Llanos - Interim GM LADOT, Frank Ching - Sr. Executive Officer METRO, and Aaron Gundzik - Chair of Board CicLAvia who all reflected on how much change the city has undergone when it comes to the attitudes and actions of open streets and walkability. Council-member Price updated us on the works of a 20 mile bike route that will go through major corridors in the South LA area such as Avalon Blvd, Figueroa St, and Grand Ave. He proudly announced that it is more than halfway done being completed and is the beginning of South LA’s walkable future.

Afterwards, we explored the neighborhoods of Exposition Park, Vermont Square, Historic South Central, Central-Alameda, Florence-Graham, and Watts, completely car-free. At the northernmost part of the route, near the Expo Park Hub, stood the Banc of California Stadium which not too long ago was booming with LAFC fans after winning the MLS Cup.

The Natural History Museum set up their Mobile Museum: An Archaeology Experience at the entrance of the Expo Park Hub. Upon entering, the exhibit was filled with sights and sounds of California native plants and animals. You were also able to practice excavating as well as learn about the Chumash peoples of California.

As you made your way down Central Avenue you could see the many local businesses, street vendors, and food trucks lined up, ready to serve the friends and families of South LA. When cars are removed from the equation, we have the time and space to slow down and be more present in the area we are in. It allows us to talk to others, take pictures, and enjoy Los Angeles at a more intimate level.

CicLAvia was proud to collaborate again with Designing in Color (DCo) to remix the configuration of the typical CicLAvia hub to create an experience that encouraged more participation in the future design of our city by centering the Hub on a large-scale 'workshop'. The remixed Watts Hub was packed with music, arts and craft, and interactive activities provided by DJ SouthLAnd, Children’s Institute, Place It!, Friends at Mafundi, Maintain the Mystery, Sisters of Watts and Candyce Fabre. Place It! also set up a creative area to practice your city planning skills with a hands-on approach.

The Central Ave Hub was home to our partners from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) Sustainable Transportation Equity Project (STEP) program who have the mission to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase access to clean transportation, and address community transportation needs in climate-burdened neighborhoods. Activations included LA Dept. of Transportation (LADOT) sharing info about their Universal Basic Mobility (UBM) Pilot that will introduce new shared mobility options for residents and workers, provide transportation subsidies, provide outreach and green jobs training, and expand electrification in South LA along with LADWP’s Charge Up L.A. booth, info about Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI)24-month e-Bike Lending Library pilot in South LA and BlueLA sharing more information about electric car sharing rentals for all Angelenos.

We enjoyed seeing the many unique characters and furry friends on the route dressed in the holiday spirit!

We can't wait to see you next year at the 8 events we have planned. Be sure to join our email list so you can get all the details (routes, maps, dates, and more) and never miss a CicLAvia Sunday in 2023!

It’s thanks to the incredible support from people like you that we are able to have as many events in the upcoming year. Join our CicLAvia Street Stars to help us make 2023 even better. Make an End of Year donation in support of open streets in Los Angeles and get exclusive gifts!

Photos: Jon Endow, Brian Feinzimer, James Rojas, Laura Rudich, Farah Sosa, and Snap Yourself.