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Car-Free Sunday a Hit with Angelenos

Published April 11, 2011

LOS ANGELES, CA (BRAIN)—About 200,000 people hit the streets of downtown Los Angeles on bikes, rollerblades, skateboards and just about anything without a motor Sunday in the city’s second “CicLAvia,” according to the event’s producers.

The event’s name and inspiration came from Ciclovía in Bogota, Colombia. There city officials temporarily block off the main streets to cars every Sunday and holiday as runners, skaters and bicyclists take to open spaces. Ciclovía is a Spanish term for bike path that has become synonymous for this event.

“It was two to three times bigger than the first event in October,” said Aaron Paley, Ciclavia’s producer. “I’m really surprised by how it grew. I didn’t think it would grow that quickly that fast.”

Boosting participation in the free event were stories by local media including the LA Times and the local NBC affiliate in the days just before Sunday.

“Our marketing budget was $20,000 and that’s nothing considering the hundreds of people that are talking about it today,” Paley said, pointing to stories in the Daily News, Los Angeles Times and La Opinion newspapers.

Ciclavia is put on by a nonprofit with board members made up from different walks of life including urban planners, civil engineers, bike advocates and environmentalists. Each event costs about $350,000 to produce, Paley said, with the nonprofit footing about 40 percent of the bill and the City of Los Angeles covering the other 60 percent from federal and state programs dealing with the environment, public health and alternative mobility.

“We’ve been able to thus far raise the money we need,” Paley said. “But we need to find major corporate support now. We have local government support, foundation support and now need the private sector to come in. It’s only going to get more expensive because we’re going to expand it. With more people, we need even more production support to deal with the larger crowds.” This includes traffic cops, fire departments and other support staff along the 7.5-mile route.

Two more Ciclavia events are scheduled this year for July 10 and October 9. For more information, visit ciclavia.org.

For more photos from the Sunday event, go to the BRAIN Facebook page (click on above link).

—Lynette Carpiet
lcarpiet@bicycleretailer.com

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