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Same route, different branches for CicLAvia

August 19, 2011 |  1:39 pm

Ciclavia If you missed the first CicLAvia in October, or the second one in April, don't sweat it: There's a third one coming up Oct. 9. In a city with lots of asphalt and not much grass, it takes the logical step of turning streets into parks, shutting down a 7.5-mile stretch of roads running through downtown Los Angeles to auto traffic and opening it to bikes, strollers, skaters and walkers. Organizers recently announced that the October event will add two spurs to the original route, one running south from downtown to the African American Firefighter Museum and the other going north from City Hall to central Chinatown, bringing the total mileage to 10.5.

That ought to bring some variety, but it still won't satisfy riders who have already seen that stretch of the city and would rather bike on closed streets somewhere else -- nor local residents who are tired of having to park a block away from their homes in order to get in and out of their neighborhoods. "Why are you always inconveniencing the same residents every time this event is held?" complained a commenter signing himself "Tripp Fell" on CicLAvia's website. Aaron Paley, the event's producer, says organizers are, in fact, looking at other parts of L.A. County for future CicLAvia's, in addition to studying new spurs from the original route. But deviation is expensive.

It would cost between $50,000 and $70,000 to come up with a new traffic plan if CicLAvia moved to another location, Paley said. The October event is costing about half a million dollars, with the city picking up half the tab by paying the cost of the police, fire and Department of Transportation personnel monitoring the route, while Paley's organization is raising funds to cover the rest, mostly from foundations. It takes about a year to plan a CicLAvia, so don't hold your breath, but in the future we may see new routes opened up.

For many riders, CicLAvia is the only time biking in Los Angeles feels completely safe; it's also one of the very rare occasions when our city feels like a town.

-- Dan Turner

Photo: Organizers of the first CicLAvia last October, including Aaron Paley, far left, gather near the route. Credit: Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times

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