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CicLAvia is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting public health, active green transportation, public space, economic development, and community building through car-free public events . With the full support of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Metro, the Los Angeles City Council, Police Department, Fire Department, Department of Transportation, the Department of Public Works, the Department of Water and Power, the Department of Parks and Recreation, and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, CicLAvia is an innovative model for creating new public space and enriching civic life.  
The ciclovía concept began in Bogotá, Colombia, over thirty years ago as a response to the congestion and pollution of city streets and eventually grew to become a weekly event, spanning about 75 miles and attended by up to 1 million Colombians in a single day. Now different incarnations of the original ciclovía occur throughout Latin America and the United States.
Inspired by the highly successful ciclovía in Bogotá, Colombia, CicLAvia began in 2008 as an informal committee of public space, environmental and bicycle advocates who were interested in bringing the concept to Los Angeles. With a goal to better understand Los Angeles’ lack of public space and develop a community event that would highlight this issue, the group decided to bring the concept of ciclovía to their city.
With a vision of creating recurring, sustainable program that all Angelenos could enjoy, the committee expanded to become a broad-based community coalition. By 2009, the CicLAvia steering committee, as it was then called, included members from diverse backgrounds - bicycle and public space advocacy, graphic design, urban and environmental planning, arts and culture, event production, journalism, and engineering.
Throughout 2009, the grassroots, volunteer-driven movement worked to garner support for the concept from city council members, neighborhood councils, advocacy organizations, local bike shops and countless individuals. In September of 2009, the CicLAvia steering committee began discussion with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and his staff regarding the implementation of CicLAvia in Los Angeles. The committee won the support of the Mayor and his staff, initiating the coordination of the multiple city agencies needed to execute this pilot event.
In early 2010, the California Endowment lent the first bit of financial support for the pilot event. Planning for the first CicLAvia continued as the steering committee moved forward with fundraising, in addition to building more community awareness and support for the program. In May of 2010, the CicLAvia steering committee officially incorporated as a California Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation. And in the summer of that year, Bikes Belong came on as the second supporter of the pilot event. Others began to follow, including the Rosenthal Family Foundation, pushing the Mayor’s Office to confirm 10/10/10 as the official date for the pilot CicLAvia event.
On 10/10/10, CicLAvia took place for the first time in Los Angeles and was enjoyed by an astounding number of participants: an estimated 100,000, according to the LA Times. From 10 am to 3 pm, 7.5 miles of roadways were temporarily closed to car traffic and opened for recreational purposes. From Boyle Heights to Downtown, MacArthur Park to East Hollywood, families, pedestrians, cyclists, joggers, skateboarders, and rollerbladers rediscovered the roadways and neighborhoods that too often go unnoticed in a car.
Following the success of the pilot event, the CicLAvia steering committee quickly began to plan for future events. In 2011, CicLAvia took place on April 10th and October 9th, attracting a larger and more diverse audience each time. On October 9th, the route expanded from 7.5 miles to 10 miles, extending north to El Pueblo de Los Angeles and south to the African American Firefighter Museum in South LA.
Throughout 2011, key partnerships were developed with the Los Angeles County Department of Health’s Choose Health LA initiative, REI, Cedars-Sinai and Kaiser Permanente, to name a few. And in the fall of that year, the CicLAvia steering committee received its official status as a 501 c3, allowing the organization to come out from under the fiscal receivership of the Los Angels County Bicycle Coalition and act as a fully independent nonprofit.
On April 15th, CicLAvia took place for the fourth time in less than two years – proving once again that thousands of Angelenos continue to crave the freedom of movement and increased sense of connection that CicLAvia offers. What was likely the most well-attended CicLAvia event thus far, April 15th brought together an eclectic and diverse crowd – an amalgamation of Southern California’s numerous populations, demographics, ethnicities and races. The visual diversity represented on the ten-mile route was one example of the event’s success, as CicLAvia works to attract all Angelenos, rather than one specific population group or demographic. The next CicLAvia is scheduled to take place on Sunday, October 7th, 2012. While the route for this event remains approximately 10 miles, it has changed quite a bit from the April 15th event. MacArthur Park is now the furthest western point on the route, which extends further north into Chinatown, further east into Boyle Heights, and further south past USC - with a hub stop now at Exposition Park.
On Sunday April 21, 2013, an entirely new route will be introduced for the first time. CicLAvia – To The Sea will connect historic downtown LA with Venice Beach, mostly along Venice Boulevard. This herculean feat transforms 15 miles of car-centric asphalt into a temporary shared public activity space.
Summary of Events
- October 10, 2010
- April 12, 2011
- October 9, 2011
- April 15, 2012
- October 7, 2012
- April 21, 2013
- June 23, 2013
- October 6, 2013
- Hillel Aron, "CicLAvia Rules! How Bicyclists Made L.A. a Better Place", LA Weekly, April 5, 2012
- Adam Nagourney, "Los Angeles Lives by Car, but Learns to Embrace Bikes", The New York Times, May 19, 2012
- Aaron Paley, "I Blocked Off Wilshire and Angelenos Loved It", Zocálo Public Square, January 23, 2013
- Javier C. Hernandez, "Car-Free Streets, a Colombian Export, Inspire Debate", The New York Times, June 24, 2008
- David Ng, "CicLAvia returning Sunday with expanded car-free route", Los Angeles Times, April 17, 2013
- "First of 3 CicLAvia Events to Shut Down 15 Miles of Traffic", CBS Los Angeles, April 10, 2013