In South LA, a View to an Open Streets Future

Our 38th event, CicLAvia–South LA, offered over five miles of open (and spacious!) streets to walk, run, bike, dance, and play. It also offered a look into Los Angeles' future: when more cyclist-friendly and pedestrian-friendly streets will be the norm, when the skies and the city will be cleaner and greener, and when even more art, culture, and opportunity will be available.

Our route through the neighborhoods of South Central, Exposition Park, Leimert Park, and Crenshaw was an incredible way to close out the year, and kick off a new one.

CicLAvia executive director Romel Pascual kicked off the event with short speeches from Board Chairman Aaron Gundzik and Supervisor Holly Mitchell, who noted, “We too want safe streets, open streets, and pedestrian streets in our communities.”

Everyone spoke not only on the benefits of the event, but on a shared goal to make every day resemble CicLAvia Sundays. Congresswoman Karen Bass added: “Los Angeles and California are on the forefront in so many different ways. I look forward being able to ride a bike on the streets in traffic more with barriers — when it’s safe to ride. We continue to promote safe bike riding.”

Council member Marqueece Harris-Dawson, Supervisor Holly Mitchell, Transportation Secretary David Kim, and our friends at LADOT were on hand as well to talk about the transformative power of open streets – and to thank the staff and volunteers who help make days like this possible.

We saw a few glimpses of LA's future along the route. Visiting the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art booth provided a look at an upcoming (and incredibly exciting) museum in Exposition Park.

Others got a chance to test e-bikes with LACI, see how streetlight poles can charge vehicles thanks to the Bureau of Street Lighting, and play games with (and learn about) the green transportation-focused BlueLA powered by Blink Mobility.

These are all partners in the Sustainable Transportation Equity Project (STEP) – as is CicLAvia – a new initiative led by LADOT that aims to increase access to clean, green transit and address community transportation needs in climate burdened neighborhoods. The project will introduce new shared mobility options, expand fare subsidies, and create more charging stations and electric shuttles in South LA. A lot of people had the chance to learn more about STEP on Sunday. 

So many different organizations joined us in South LA, from the CA Science Center and SoCal Gas to the Los Angeles Public LibraryLACMA, the LA Philand the L.A. Zoo – and we enjoyed the food trucks, restaurants, and local shops that lined Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. Attendees explored the streets further on their Pokemon Go and Harry Potter: Wizards Unite (thanks to Niantic) and there were a LOT of photos taken – with the Las Fotos Project and the Snap Yourself roving photo booth. 

We scored a few public safety successes, too: Over two hundred Angelenos got a Covid-19 vaccine (thank you Shared Harvest!!) and over a hundred more received free helmets from CHP and the City of LA.

What always strikes us is the way people make this day their own. However you travel the route (or bask in one place) and whatever you see, you learned a little more about the neighborhoods around you and the life that comes to the streets when we take away the cars.

We're hard at work on our 2022 schedule – join our email list so you can get all the details (routes, maps, dates, and more) and never miss a CicLAvia Sunday!

It’s thanks to the incredible support from people like you that we are back on the streets again. Join our CicLAvia Street Stars to help us make this year our best yet. Make a regular donation in support of open streets in Los Angeles, and get exclusive gifts in return.

Photos: Brian Feinzimer, Farah Sosa, Halline Overby, and Snap Yourself.