Photo Courtesy of CicLAvia /Monica Orozco deMonica 

 

After four years and 11 previous events, CicLAvia — where entire miles of roadways and streets are closed to drivers and left for the exclusive use of pedestrians and cyclists — arrives in the Valley.

The first CicLAvia event of this year takes place Sunday, March 22, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. It will cover 5.5 miles along Lankershim Boulevard, between the North Hollywood Metro Red Line station at Chandler Boulevard, and the Universal Studio Red Line station, along Ventura Boulevard between Campo de Cahuenga and Coldwater Canyon.

“We started in Oct.10, 2010, primarily in downtown, and the first few years was about getting our feet under ourselves. As the community learned more about CicLAvia, we’ve expanded to other areas of Los Angeles,” said Robert Gard, CicLAvia spokesman.

Last year Metro designated $4 million for its open streets funding — a project designed to take cars temporarily off the street and encourage transportation alternatives — with a portion of that money going to CicLAvia.

That has allowed CicLAvia to extend to Santa Monica, East and South Los Angeles in the latest editions. This time, the route highlights some of the gems of the East Valley including the North Hollywood Arts District, Universal City, the historic Campo de Cahuenga, Studio City Farmers Market and the famed Sportsmen’s Lodge.

Other CicLAvia events this year are in Pasadena in late May, Culver City/Venice in August and Heart of LA later in October.

“We’re now able to fulfill our effort to get to other parts of Los Angeles,” Gard said. “There’s been a great cry from the Valley to have our CicLAvia event in that part of Los Angeles, and we expect this route to be one of the highest attended yet.”

More Valley Events Planned

Gard added that from now on, CicLAvia officials expect to have an event every year in different parts of the Valley. But, he noted, one of the requisites for a route is to have a Metro station or transportation hub close by so that “people can get to the CicLAvia without using a car.”

There are no official records of the number of participants in each CicLAvia. Gard puts the totals at between 30,000 and 100,000. Other estimates are 250,000 or higher. Regardless of the numbers, there is no doubt Los Angeles residents have taken advantage of these events to get to know their city in a completely different way.

“It’s an extremely unique way to see the city. When you’re in the car, you’re in your own little world. You don’t notice the unique parts of the city and its architecture,” Gard said.

“But when you get out of the car and walk, it’s a different perspective about Los Angeles. And when you walk with thousands of people, you interact with people and it’s a social type of experiment you can’t get any other way.”

The Valley route of CicLAvia will feature four hubs where participants can get information, purchase merchandise, park and repair their bike, get free water, use the restroom or get medical attention.

— Coldwater Canyon Hub, located along Ventura Boulevard, from Carpenter Avenue to Coldwater Canyon. It features several food trucks and entertainment.

— Studio City Farmers Market Hub, located at 12225 Ventura Boulevard. Participants can buy locally grown produce, baked goods and enjoy family-friendly activities such as face painting, pony rides, jumpers and more.

— Universal City Hub, where participants can also take a stroll on the Radford Art Walk (on Radford Avenue between Valleyheart Drive and Moorpark Street).There will also be nature walks, jazz performances and other activities along the Los Angeles River. This area also features a rock wall, food trucks, shaded sitting area and a photo booth.

—North Hollywood Arts District Hub. Once an alley, NoHo Plaza has been repurposed as a public plaza space with tables, chairs and umbrellas for people to enjoy. 

San Fernando Valley CicLAvia App

Something else that is unique to this CicLAvia event — an iPhone App where participants can hear interviews from past and present events with interesting people in the Valley.

The “Walk With Me” app (available for free on Apple IOS devices) blends interviews, music, historic sound clips, natural sounds and “live noise” into an interactive walking art installation that reveals itself differently for each user.

As people walk the CicLAvia route on Lankershim between the Metro NoHo station to Campo de Cahuenga and on Ventura Boulevard between the Metro Universal City station to Coldwater Canyon, their phone’s GPS will access data points that will allow them to hear an evolving soundscape unique to their CicLAvia experience.

For more information about CicLAvia, visit www.ciclavia.org.