Critiquing the April 2013 CicLAvia

I am no Debbie Downer.  I enjoyed CicLAvia once again, particularly the parts where we passed my old high school and seeing the "StoopidTall" Bike. 

It is truly not just a fun event, but a pretty organized one.  I am amazed at how CicLAvia has been able to garner such support in a short amount of time.  I am amazed at how they get so many to volunteer, not only to just hand out waters or give information but also to fix your bike...for FREE (at least my friend's bike was up and running without him paying)!  

In front of my old high school, Loyola High School, I even ran into an alumnus turned bike lawyer Daniel Jimenez, or DJWheels.  He'd seen me snapping photos and asked me what year I graduated.  Alumni talk ensued.

By My Old High School

I know the event people tries to account for every problem imaginable, and they do a fairly good job.

But there are a few things that were going to nag at me if I didn't post about them:

  • Inaccessibility to those who don't know how to get there.  I have tons of friends who would probably want to have gone, but gave an excuse of not knowing how to get there because of either of the reasons:  1)  no bike  2)  do not know how to get to a place without a car/not knowing public transit.   Possible solutions: 1) advertising more bike rental businesses, "designing" easier ways for people to get bikes to rent.  Realistically, biking in LA is something most people feel like they "go out of their way" to do, rather than something they use to get somewhere. Not too many people are going to strike out on their own after clicking on some link I send them unless I go with them.  2)  More ubiquitous, "social" directions to and from the event through public transit;  I guess this is something I could do on this hurr blog.
  • The Time Window to enjoy CicLAvia was really short.  The streets are blocked off from 10AM-3PM for 14 miles and 100,000+ people going either which way.  I got to the "start" of the event in Downtown LA at 12:00 PM.  Had to fix my friend's bike for about 30 minutes.  Cruised to 2:00, ending up in Culver City before we 'realized' we had to get back.  We made it back down to Hoover St. on Venice, just after the police removed the cones for traffic.  Everyday biking life for me, but the loss of protection probably harrowing to others, and perhaps makes people think about bike safety in ordinary, everyday life. Possible solutions:    If the goal is to get more people bicycling and thinking about it in everyday life, then I think the time period is fine as bicyclists have to "assimilate" with traffic once the event finishes.  But if the goal is to have people enjoy the open spaces and sights of LA without a car, then they need to find a way to extend the event as if it was the LA Marathon or other event. Get more money to stay up longer?  Do a CicLAvia at night?
  • Latest CicLAvia "felt" less multi-modal.  No I didn't count the bicyclists or pedestrians.  The latest event seems to have attracted lots of bicyclists (which does include myself);  when I went to the first one in 2010, there were a lot more runners, skateboarders, moms and dads with carts.  The latest route felt like a mini-cycling race, which I feel is OK if it were just that, but seems to take away from the idea of an open space, as the bicyclists, ironically enough, seem to crowd out other modes of transportation.  Possible Solutions: I am not sure about anything other than path segregations, but that concept seems inimical to the ideas of the free open spaces CicLAvia.

See you all June 23rd

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