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CicLAvia gets underway on Wilshire Boulevard

June 23, 2013|By Emily Foxhall and Laura Nelson
  • CicLAvia participants ride through downtown Los Angeles during the last such event in April.
CicLAvia participants ride through downtown Los Angeles during the last… (Christina House / For The…)

Paul Girard has participated in CicLAvia twice before.

But this time the 44-year-old Pasadena resident brought along his 3-year-old twin boys, Andre and Peter. He said he wanted to get the kids outdoors.

“TV’s OK but talking is better,” said Girard, 44. “I think it’s good getting kids involved in riding and socializing.”

PHOTOS: CicLAvia No. 6

Girard and his family were among dozens who turned out early Sunday to participate in the seventh CicLAvia, a recurring car-free event. This time a 6.3-mile stretch of Wilshire will be closed to cars between Grand and Fairfax avenues from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. to allow for bicyclists, roller-skaters, in-line skaters, skate-boarders and pedestrians to take over the big boulevard.

The event's organizers have called the route the most pedestrian-friendly of any CicLAvia. For the first time, there will be pedestrian-only zones at the beginning and end of the route. Those areas will feature activities including Pilates, belly-dance classes and bicycle helmet decoration.

"This is our dream CicLAvia," Executive Director Aaron Paley said in a statement. "The route is ideal for pedestrians, for people who love the history of Los Angeles architecture, foodies, families, cyclists and everyone who wants to experience the grand thoroughfare of Los Angeles from a new perspective."

The previous six events drew as many as 100,000 cyclists and pedestrians. The $350,000 cost to stage each event is picked up by a nonprofit, CicLAvia, and the city, which uses state and federal money. The goal of the nonprofit is to encourage public health, mass transit and vibrant use of public space through car-free street events.

For cars, there will be four crossing points along Wilshire: at Alvarado Street and Vermont, Western and La Brea avenues.

A series of "hubs" will provide other activities, including yoga in MacArthur Park and cars from the Petersen Automotive Museum on display at the end of the route.

For walkers, a "WalkLAvia" event began at Wilshire and Grand at 9:15 a.m. Organizers expect that the walk will take about four hours, including a stop for lunch.

The event is part of the Getty Museum's "Pacific Standard Time Presents," a collection of exhibitions and events that examine post-World War II architecture and design in Los Angeles.

Ciclovías started in Bogotá, Colombia, over 30 years ago as a response to the congestion and pollution of city streets. Now they happen throughout Latin America and the United States.

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emily.foxhall@latimes.com

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