“We can take a … street that’s usually filled with cars and congestion, blowing out pollution all around, and clear every car from that street, and create a canvas of what a community can look like when we get the cars off the streets and let people enjoy them in the way we are today.”
That’s the mayor of Los Angeles — Los Angeles — talking. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was speaking last Sunday, Oct. 10, at CicLAvia, an event that closed 7.5 miles of the city’s streets to motor vehicle traffic and opened them to people — on foot, bikes, skateboards, scooters, and skates.
This is the first time Los Angeles has tried this type of recreational street closure. It’s modeled on the highly successful Ciclovía that’s began in Bogotá, Colombia, in the late 1970s and is now a weekly event. In recent years, Portland, Ore., and New York, among other cities in the United States, have successfully experimented with similar closures.
An estimated 100,000 people turned out to enjoy the Los Angeles version, and organizers say they’re already planning more for next year.
For a city so completely dominated by the automobile, this type of event is a tremendously powerful way to demonstrate what happens when people get out of their metal pods and move their own bodies down the street. Watch the video above, from Streetfilms, to see how happy it makes them.