CycLAvia attracts over 100,000 cyclists to car-free Los Angeles streets

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25 Responses to “CycLAvia attracts over 100,000 cyclists to car-free Los Angeles streets”

  1. ADavies says:

    Total cool. I’ve never spent time there, but seems like LA could be a great town for biking. Very nice weather all year round. Lots of flat (though an inconvenient mountain range in the middle). Nice wide streets just need some bike lanes.

    Downside – Pretty sprawling. I’m guessing you could get from one side to the other in a bit over 2 hours. Could set up public transport options where you can bring your bike (I’ve seen this in a bunch of cities).

    • Anonymous says:

      LA already has pubic transport that lets you bring your bike. Most busses have a bike rack on the front that can carry two bikes. Since LA has a pretty decent bus system you can practically go everywhere with your bike.

    • Marshall says:

      I ride through LA’s streets all the time, so for me one of the best things about the CicLAvia wasn’t that bikes and pedestrians took over the streets, it was that impromptu performances and sidewalk businesses popped up. I bought homemade agua fresca from a 10 year old girl and her “business crew” for fifty cents. What a deal! If these happened all the time, all kinds of amazing things could happen in the streets and LA could finally get the kind of street culture that 90% of urban humanity considers totally normal.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I happened to be trying to get off the 101 at 6th…. and it took forever, trying to get to Spring and 7th. What the hell is going on? I asked a friend who lived down there. He wasn’t sure. He thought there was an event that was supposed to happen and they forgot the event.

    It was an interesting experiment but I think it caused so much consternation amongst drivers (c’mon, LA traffic sucks already) that it may not have had as positive an effect as hoped.

    Conversely – it was really sorta chill to be downtown – a place i’ve spent a lot of time (and a place that incidentally has really wonderful Art Deco architecture if you just take the time to look) – and it was so quiet and you could hear people talking and laughing instead of the mad echo of buses and cars and horns.

    Ok NYC – your turn! let us know how it turns out!

  3. Anonymous says:

    It was utterly amazing! I was there from 9:59 – 3:01 and I rode the complete route, there and back, twice. Here’s more pics! http://www.flickr.com/photos/gtwodt/sets/72157625014601011/

  4. MichaelRN says:

    Ok NYC – your turn! let us know how it turns out!

    Already done. For the third year in a row.

  5. mic_dee says:

    I think @jory takes great pictures. I’m a big fan.

    • Jory says:

      Thanks for the compliment mic_dee. The feeling is mutual.

      I’m so glad to see this post. This day was so much fun I can’t help but expect to do it again soon. Since Sunday I have swapped stories with lots of friends who were also there but who I never saw on the ride due to the wide open scale of the event. Everyone I’ve talked to has the same sort of instant nostalgia.

      Let’s do it again!

  6. JohnnyOC says:

    Sounds like a great time! The public transportation here in LA is non-existent and anything to even remotely gets people out on different modes of transportation to see what it’s like is a good thing.

    I used to take my bike on the Orange line downtown, then on to Amtrack to Irvine (OC) and then bike 2 miles to work. Had to stop since the Amtrak was so HORRIBLE with their schedules it was much more consistent and faster for me to drive (and in L.A. that’s saying something).

    OTOH, even though this is a really cool idea about opening up bikes to the city, it’s mostly a fantasy to really thing there is going to be any real impact. It’s like saying a marathon will get the population to run and have more public walkable areas.

    For me, the Orange line was close to my house so it wasn’t too bad to get there…. but I known TONS of bikers of every stripe who said that they were harassed, close to be in accidents with either aggressive or worse, clueless motorists, or god forbid, actually got into accidents with the majority of them being hit and run.

    L.A. has to be one of the worst places to bike in the country and I don’t have too much hope that is going to change unless there was a major rebuilding/re-zoning of the city and surrounding areas (from “the big one” or alien attack perhaps…)

    • Sean Bonner says:

      Sorry JohnnyOC but I think you just earned your name – there is tons of public transportation in LA and some of it very useful to a good number of people, and it’s easily one of the best places in the country for cycling. I’ve spent time on a bike in every major city in the US and would pick LA over any of them any day of the week.

      • JohnnyOC says:

        @Sean Bonner

        “Sorry JohnnyOC but I think you just earned your name – there is tons of public transportation in LA and some of it very useful to a good number of people, and it’s easily one of the best places in the country for cycling. I’ve spent time on a bike in every major city in the US and would pick LA over any of them any day of the week.”

        I’m sorry too, but I also lived in other cities and Pittsburgh beats the living hell out LA’s public transit (their BART and subways are really, really good) to it’s outlying cities. And the people I’ve talked to say that it’s pretty dangerous for commuting.. Maybe your doing recreational cycling in the pretty mountains or around the area, but if you’re trying to get to work in real traffic, good luck.

        • Sean Bonner says:

          “Maybe your doing recreational cycling in the pretty mountains or around the area, but if you’re trying to get to work in real traffic, good luck.”

          I ride a bike in the streets, with the cars, every day. To work. From work. Along with thousands of other commuter cyclists. And have done so for the better part of the last decade. It might be a good idea for you to stop talking about things you have no idea about.

    • adamnvillani says:

      The public transportation here in LA is non-existent

      This is such an exaggeration that it teeters on the brink of complete falsehood. Does public transit in L.A. have its limitations? Yes, it does. Do buses take a very long time to cross the city? Yes, they do. Can switching between systems be annoying? Sure. But is public transportation in LA non-existent? Absolutely not.

      A lot of it depends on whether your place of work and your place of residence are near transit stops. I work downtown and take the Red Line subway into work nearly every day, often taking the Orangle Line busway to get there, and it works quite well for me. Time-wise it’s roughly on par with driving, but the two big advantages are that I don’t have to park downtown and I can read or sleep on the way instead of fighting traffic. I live way out in the West Valley because of my wife’s job, but we chose our particular location for an apartment partially due to its easy transit accessibility.

      I used to live in Monterey Park and took a Metro Rapid bus in to work. That worked pretty well, but the buses had to ride in mixed-flow traffic (the same as cars), so the ride was jerkier and the arrival time unpredictable.

      The Orange Line, a dedicated busway across the San Fernando Valley, solves those problems — the dedicated roadway makes for a much smoother, more reliable ride, and the headways during rush hour are so short (4 minutes between buses) that you needn’t worry about the schedule. It is still somewhat less comfortable than a light rail train, and the capacity is much lower, so the buses are often packed in like sardines.

      I’m not sure what you’re confusing for the Orange Line downtown; there is no Orange Line that goes downtown. And did you mean the Metrolink between downtown to Irvine?

      The majority of my co-workers also take public transit, even though we’re all professionals and most of us own cars, too. Obviously we all work downtown, which is the most transit-accessible place in the city, so that’s a big part of how we’re able to do it.

      But we’re hardly unique; transit works for many Angelenos and could work for many others. I’m sorry it didn’t work for you; it wouldn’t work for my wife and it wouldn’t work for all of the work situations I’ve been in. But please don’t generalize from your experience to the entire city.

      • JohnnyOC says:

        I apologize everyone for the “non-existent” part. Wrong choice of words.

        I’ll just say that L.A. transit system is bad compared to most cities.

        Yes, there is some infrastructure but, again, all of the bad points that you brought up trying to defend it, not me mind you, show how much the system needs updating and expanded.

        “A lot of it depends on whether your place of work and your place of residence are near transit stops.”

        So, you admit that it’s pretty limited in scope then and you have to bend over backwards to have either your work or your living space to be in the “golden areas” to actually use the system.

        “…so the ride was jerkier and the arrival time unpredictable.”

        And you now admit that it’s not really on time most of time on the bus transit. I had the same experience with Metrolink.

        “..and the capacity is much lower, so the buses are often packed in like sardines.”

        And you admit to overcapacity on the bus lines.

        “I’m not sure what you’re confusing for the Orange Line downtown; there is no Orange Line that goes downtown. And did you mean the Metrolink between downtown to Irvine?”

        Sorry, I was talking about the Gold Line Metro, heh, not the Orange Line. It’s been a year since I’ve been on it.

        “Obviously we all work downtown, which is the most transit-accessible place in the city, so that’s a big part of how we’re able to do it.”

        And really, that’s pretty much only one of few areas where Angelinos can actually use it for. There is no subway to the West Side with is a real shame.

        “But please don’t generalize from your experience to the entire city.”

        All of my friends and I have tried over the years to use the L.A. public transit but it never worked out over the long term. I lived in Chicago, Pittsburgh, and visited friends in both San Francisco and New York and honestly it makes the L.A. scene look pathetic.

        Unpredictability, extremely limited options, not enough capacity, expense (at least with the Metro) and there’s a reason why people drive.

  7. narrowstreetsLA says:

    100,000?!?!? GREAT SUCCESS! I soooo wish I could’ve been there–last-minute business came up and I found myself in Orange County for the day, of all places. Hopefully it becomes a tradition all over the city (I’m looking at you, Westside)! Oh, and it’s spelled “CicLAvia,” by the way.

    To all the driver-haters: lighten up! You guys get the roads 99.9% of the time all the time. Every time there’s an event (marathons) or a protest (Iranian democracy, Prop 8, immigration) the first thing out of Angelenos’ mouths is some complaint about traffic. There are other things in life more important than smoothly moving thousands of cars at 50mph. Get out there in the sun! It’s sunny every freakin’ day here!

  8. GlenBlank says:

    The claim that “public transportation here in LA is non-existent” is an absurdity; and I say that as someone who has lived in LA for over a third of a century, and has watched it go from what might be fairly described that way (lots of buses, but little else – no rapid transit at all) twenty years ago, to its current (far-from-perfect-but-not-unreasonable) state – and who has spent my share of time using those transit systems.

    But then, the story that @JohnnyOC tells is, itself, pretty ridiculous – as @adamnvillani notes, the Orange Line doesn’t go anywhere near downtown.

    I’m not sure of the source of his confusion, though it’s true that all the buses on the Orange Line are silver, and most of the buses on the Silver Line are orange, so it can be a bit hard on the easily-confused. :-)

    (He probably means the Orange Line to its North Hollywood terminus, then the Red Line subway from there to Union Station downtown – but who knows?)

    (Amtrak makes some sense, since Metrolink is a commuter rail line, and LA to Irvine and back is a “reverse commute”, which the Metrolink OC line doesn’t handle well. But Metrolink is more consistent, since – unlike Amtrak – its trains get priority over the slow BNSF freights that share that corridor.)

    But more to the point, it’s ridiculous because even the closest terminus of the 14-mile long Orange Line is at least 45 miles (as the crow flies) from Irvine.

    (And about a third of that journey is in an entirely different county, with its own entirely separate transit agency – which has almost no rapid transit of its own. Of course, that says very little about the state of transit “here in LA”.)

    It’s an absurdity to expect the taxpayers to provide you with the infrastructure necessary to make a daily ~100-mile round-trip commute in whatever direction you feel like going across the center of one of the most densely-populated urban areas in the country.

    Doesn’t matter whether you drive, take a bus, take a train, or ride a hoverboard, it’s absurd to expect society to furnish you with what it takes to make that a reasonable commute.

    If you’re commuting ~100 miles a day, you’re part of the problem, not part of the solution, no matter how you choose to travel.

    (Personally, my experience of late is that the LA metro area has so many different transit options that many people simply aren’t aware of all the possibilities – and it’s easier to pretend that “transit in LA is non-existent” than to figure out the sometimes-complicated answers.)

    • JohnnyOC says:

      “But then, the story that @JohnnyOC tells is, itself, pretty ridiculous – as @adamnvillani notes, the Orange Line doesn’t go anywhere near downtown.”

      As stated before, it was the GOLD line, not the Orange line I was talking about. Don’t try to rip into my whole statement because of one word to make yourself feel superior, jeez..

      “(Amtrak makes some sense, since Metrolink is a commuter rail line, and LA to Irvine and back is a “reverse commute”, which the Metrolink OC line doesn’t handle well. But Metrolink is more consistent, since – unlike Amtrak – its trains get priority over the slow BNSF freights that share that corridor.)”

      Metrolink is as bad as Amtrak in my book. Most of the arrival times are delayed, and there are just so limited options (can’t get a train after 4:30 pm to go Northbound, give me a break), it’s just not worth it. A monthly pass is also as expensive as me just driving. The worst is Amtrak though. Horror stories galore. I’ll never use them again if I could help it. Rude engineers, trains that stop and refuse passengers, breaking down for 2 hours. Never showing up one day!!

      “It’s an absurdity to expect the taxpayers to provide you with the infrastructure necessary to make a daily ~100-mile round-trip commute in whatever direction you feel like going across the center of one of the most densely-populated urban areas in the country.”

      Bulls*(t! Why is public transit in NYC and places out of the States like Vancouver, Toyko, and Beijing making it work, eh? They are as dense, if not MORE, than Los Angeles. And it’s not “every direction” I care about. I just want a train that goes West to the West Side of LA and East to Pasadena. Oh yeah, that’s right. No one in those cities wants the “masses” to come to their towns and are putting up a big stink about it and blocking any initiative for the city to do anything about it. We can’t even have a completed highway back in the day because the City of Pasadena didn’t want it to go through their town.

      Even if that never happens, the only thing I expect is for the current trains to be on time and they almost NEVER were. I’m talking 1/2 hour if we were lucky and 2-3 hours late or never at all if we were not. I had to get my wife to drive down to pick me and other stranded passengers up because of the downright horrible reliability of Amtrak.

      “If you’re commuting ~100 miles a day, you’re part of the problem, not part of the solution, no matter how you choose to travel.”

      Once again, you don’t know my situation so STFU. Do you have a wife? Does she work? Mine does. She works in Pasadena (hence using the Gold Line) and can’t change jobs, and with our economy I had to take a job in Irvine. One of us had to take the bullet and I chose it and I planned out if I could use the existing LA public transit to work for me. Think before you start in with your presumptuous, pompous attitude. “Part of the problem?” You going to give me a job in Pasadena? I don’t think I’m unique when it comes to married couple where both are working in very different parts of the city.

      (Personally, my experience of late is that the LA metro area has so many different transit options that many people simply aren’t aware of all the possibilities – and it’s easier to pretend that “transit in LA is non-existent” than to figure out the sometimes-complicated answers.)

      Hey, buddy. I BUSTED MY ASS for 3 months trying to get public transit to work for me. Complicated answers? Give me a break! I researched. I memorized schedules. I took Metrolink, Amtrak, buses, and schlepped around my bike to get it from one place to another on all of them. I was behind schedule most of the time because of reliability, it was cramped as hell with rude people, it was expensive, it wasn’t safe when I was biking half the time because the car commuters couldn’t care less about bike lanes, and it made no damn sense for me to do it anymore.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I’ve lived in Los Angeles my entire life and this was definitely one of the greatest things I’ve ever experienced here. From the very start there was a tacit and confident sense of community I’ve never really seen here. I rode the “course” twice that day and it will not surprise me to see a crowd at least twice the size next time.

  10. hobomike says:

    Believe it! It was awesome. Fantastic turnout with little to no marketing on a brutally hot day. About time in a city that’s sorta perfect for bicycles!

  11. Xeni Jardin says:

    So sorry I had to miss! Had a cold, couldn’t handle being outside that long.

  12. winkybb says:

    Great move. May it continue to spread both geographically and temporally until those bloody cars are wiped from the face of the planet.

  13. Anonymous says:

    It sucked by bike balls…I couldn’t get to the friggin freeway because all the roads were blocked off. I had to drive at least 3 minutes out of my way through the fashion district to get across Wilshire. Poppycock!

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