Reimagining the future of LA at Fast Pitch 2020

Reimagining the future of LA at Fast Pitch 2020

At Social Venture Partners LA’s Fast Pitch 2020, CicLAvia Chief Strategist Tafarai Bayne presented a fresh vision for open streets as our city adapts to new challenges. Read his remarks below, or watch a video here - and learn how you can help CicLAvia usher in a more equitable, more sustainable future with even greater opportunities for Angelenos: 

Remember when 50,000 Angelenos would gather together on miles of LA streets - running, biking, skating, walking, and playing the whole day away? Can you hear the sound of bike chains, footsteps, and laughter? Can you see the young man raised in South Central riding the bike he's built himself, smiling and chatting with the lawyer from the west side on her $3,000 race bike?

Moving via people power, just glad to be out experiencing a neighborhood in a brand new way, feeling both more connected to this city and to each other. That is the power and joy of a Ciclavia open street event: transforming streets into connective spaces - allowing for the many individual interactions and choices that, together, result in systemic shifts in consciousness and action.

I am Tafarai Bayne, chief strategist for CicLAvia. Six months ago we opened up our 2020 season in South LA.

Since our first event 10 years ago, CicLAvia has engaged over 2 million people, connecting communities, making streets safer, supporting small businesses, and building bridges between residents and their civic leaders.

We are proof of concept that yes, we can all just get along. Back in February, we were looking towards a future with more events than ever before and an edict from the Mayor to go monthly.

Then the world was struck with the pandemic, quickly emptying out public spaces, streets, and freeways. The resulting shutdown sent many workers home, destroyed livelihoods, and had everyone questioning the future.

While streaming services boomed, so did people’s attention spans. So much so that one of our country’s original sins reminded us of its continued presence in our lives. Through the increasing inequitable impact of COVID-19 on Communities of Color or a knee of a “peace officer” cutting off the air supply of a recently unemployed, COVID-recovered security guard, the world paid attention and reminded us of the power of people in the street.

Lately, it feels like the whole world is on fire. With these flames at their back, people marching in the streets have pushed leaders to not just look towards a future where we could return to the world before coronavirus, but towards a better future. A future where equity is a baseline and inclusion the law, where people can move about our city safely and sustainably and where economic opportunities exist on every block, and street corner.

I’m here to tell you what CicLAvia’s role is in getting us to this future.

To meet the needs of the community, now we’ve re-imagined CicLAvia. Our new program “CicLAMini” combines our deep community-based relationships with our years of experience in placemaking to aid LA in its social and economic recovery.

By repurposing streets into plazas to better serve both local businesses and street vendors, we will build a more inclusive economy, ensuring those most impacted during this crisis get back on their feet.

These mile-and-a-half long CicLAMinis are opportunities to encourage and educate residents about healthy behaviors like social distancing and mask-wearing. At the same time, these hyper-local activations will make walking and biking along these small-business corridors safer in multiple neighborhoods across LA.

This program will build our collective confidence in being outdoors, staying civically engaged, and protecting our physical and mental health. With an additional $100,000, we can ensure communities like Pacoima, South LA, and Mar Vista get the resources they need to recover.

Your support means CicLAvia will help our city recover by doing what we do best: bring Angelenos together. Together we can get Los Angeles back on track and moving towards that better future.

Or become a CicLAvia Street Star with a monthly donation that shows your long-term support for active transportation, small businesses, open streets, and good health. Plus, we'll send you gifts!