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CicLAvia: Thousands in L.A. ditch cars for bicycles for the day

This post has been corrected. See the note at the bottom for details.

Like thousands of other people, Junue Millan rode his bicycle on Sunday morning to downtown Los Angeles for CicLAvia.  But unlike most, Millan ditched his bike for a moment to hula hoop in the street wearing fuzzy faux-fur handmade boots.

“I’ve been car-free since 2005,” Millan, 29, of Silverlake, said as he swiveled his hips near the corner of 1st and Spring streets.

The property manager, who wore a gray and green sweat shirt proclaiming him a champion at “cow tipping,” was one of thousands who abandoned their cars for bicycles and other modes of transportation for L.A.’s second CicLAvia.

The event, which drew in-line skaters, pedestrians, skateboarders, the young and the old, was designed to give L.A. a break from its car-dependent culture. About 100,000 turned up for the first CicLAvia last October. LAPD officers said it was difficult to give an accurate count for the latest event, but they said it was clearly in the thousands.

The family-friendly route takes riders from Boyle Heights and downtown L.A. to Westlake, Koreatown and East Hollywood. Although some stuck to two-wheeled forms of transportation, others used scooters. Some left their bikes to toss footballs or jump rope in the street.
“There’s no specific plan, no agenda. It’s just about people taking the streets back,” said Bob Vanech, a treasurer and founder of railLA, one of the event supporters.

Like others, Vanech said he wanted to see Los Angeles move away from its reliance on cars to using other ways to get around, including bicycles, public transportation and rails.

“I’m also a believer in electric cars,” he said.

As Vanech spoke, Millan showed up and asked if he could use a patch of asphalt nearby.

“Is it OK if I borrow it for now?” he asked. Then Millan took out his hula hoop.

He said he used to commute 16 miles a day to work before ditching his car for his bike. “It was hard initially, but eventually it became a breeze,” Millan said. “It’s completely possible and doable.”

For the record, 6:37 p.m., April 10: A previous version of this post referred to Bob Vanech as an organizer of CicLAvia. His organization, railLA, supported the event.

-- Hector Becerra

Photo: Los Angeles holds its second CicLAvia event, closing 7.5 miles of roadways to cars and opening them up to bicyclists, runners, walkers, skateboarders and in-line skaters. Credit: Katie Falkenberg / For the Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (75)


We need more of this in this city!!

This is an example of a meaningless feel-good gesture that a) has no purpose and b) is a complete waste of time.

And this is supposed to do what? Save gas for a day? A very minor amount at best.

It would be great if our civic leaders would join in to this mind set by improving public transportation especially the rail system. Good example is the green line which ends miles from the airport and the entire rail system being dependant on a central hub which is downtown. Makes no sense that to get from Santa Clarita to Chatsworth you have to go all the way downtown and then back out to the valley. Makes the system very unattractive for people who would consider using it. My guess is there are people who would prefer the rail system and public transportation not work are the same people funding our leaders campaign!

i love my car!


I drove my Hummer down from Castaic to join in the fun.

Why not do this during the work week to really get the point across.

Well that may be just fine for you city folks but we are seniors and live way out in the desert (Victorville) and are 85 yrs old I would just like to see any of us rideing a bike over the Cajon Pass to go just to the doctors. Even riding a bike on any of these city streets out here you would take your life in your hands and get hit by one of these stupid drivers. Just not safe.

That's what I love about America. The freedom to choose your method of transportation. As they choose bikes, I choose my Silverado V-8 pickup.

Bicycling is great for those who live in the city. There is absolutely no way thata those of us in the OC who commute to LA will ever commute on bikes just as its virtually impossible to ride the train from Fullerton which now takes 1.5+ hours, more than driving and almost as costly.

The problem however with bikers is that they are so sanctimonious. They cannot live in a world with cars because too many of them refuse to honor the rules of the road, such as staying on the right side of the road and stopping at stop signs and, yes, even rid lights. Until they get some common sense they are menaces to drivers who must drive to work.

The amount of gas we and thousand of other motorists just wasted stuck in horrible traffic trying to get around this mess has totally negated any good this could have done. Awesome planning as usual.

I love cars but they are loud and dirty and take up too much of our communal space. Glad folks are seeking alternatives.

The title of this article is misleading - this wasn't about "ditching cars" and no one ditched there car to do this. That title would be more appropriate for like a bike to work day where you actually are doing something you normally do in your car on your bike.

This was about letting users besides cars use some of the city's streets for a day. I think when people finished this route they probably realized wow it is really easy and enjoyable to bike 7 miles. It is healthier, better on the environment, and less stressful to ride a bike in my opinion. Hopefully that translates in to people realizing they don't have to drive everywhere and can bike/walk when it is feasible.

It was a cool event and those of you slamming it aren't offering any good reasons. Why don't you come out to the next one and ride it and then see how you feel?

As a person who lives right in the path of this event....I don't mind the bike riders...what I do mind is the amplified yelling that is taking place...as it assaults our homes and ears!

With all the events now taking place downtown, there needs to be some curb on the noise level and no amplification whatsoever. If they wanted to have all these events down here..they shouldn't have sold us on how wonderful it was to live downtown! The traffic we knew..the "street" events we didn't!

For those who live down here or come down here...remember there are people who make their lives/homes down here..respect our piece and quite too.

So, people waste more gas on the detour. Yep, makes sense!
Isn't this what parks are for?

why is it so difficult for the MTA to inform people that events like this will disrupt peoples' means of transportation to work?
I was an hour late this morning because of this stupid event!

They had a great transportation system in the Red Car...The thugs in Detroit convinced Los Angelenos the car was the vehicle of the future. You could get from San Diego, Orange County, Huntington, Seal & Long Beachs...all by the Red Car trolly's and it's hub....dug up the tracks and now we move like ants on a freeway. Create Jobs...Build Trolly's Here In L.A. and putr them on the streets again.

They should have advertised this more and maybe the the whole state would have jumped in on the action... This really needs to go to a nationwide thing.. We need to reign in the oil companies.. When you see their profits this quarter, then this really should hopefully piss you off,...

I forgot about this event!!! Oh man!

I know that the even is specifically for Downtown L.A. but for the July 1oth event, they should have it go from Downtown to Santa Monica. It's going to be hot so why not have it start from the nice skyscrapers to the sandy beach to end the route, just my opinion. That would be pretty awesome!

I ride my bike most days to work and to eateries to meet friends, family and clients and they are inspired by it. I have a custom FJ for road trips and a Porsche Turbo (99) and its cool to drive once a week if that. I wanted to do this and made it happen.

What an amazing way to experience the diverse community of Los Angeles and the city streets we pay for!!! It makes me smile to see so many take part in this event.
Thank you to the organizers and to the police that were out directing traffic at intersections.
Lets do it again soon.

Hi my name is Jesse and this is my first event that i paryicipate in, gotta say "it was fun". Not only is it healthy but also fun. People from all kinds of places today with their skateboards bikes,rollerblades, and i even seen a guy on a one wheel peddeling

I am really concerned about the negative comments on CicLAvia. People keep saying "the amount of gas saved is laughable", or that it's "fine for us city folk", or "why not on a weekday?".

It's really not about that. It's about getting out and meeting neighbors, seeing what a beautiful city we live in, enjoying a climate that actually allows for year-round cycling, and showing that we can share the roads. Had you participated, you might have seen that.

The gas saved is minor, but a start. It is just fine for us city folk, urban neighborhoods benefit most from cyclists, and it was probably done on the weekend to be considerate to the downtown commuter population and to give families the opportunity to come out and enjoy something together.

What's laughable is the negativity from people don't know what they're talking about.

It was great! People having fun, exercising, socializing, smiles, laughs, music. My hat is off to all the organizers, volunteers, cops, nice people, good vibes all around. They should do it every week.

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