Under a bright blue sky on the Westside, CicLAVia was a hit yet again.

Almost six miles of Venice Boulevard was closed to cars from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, allowing bikers, pedestrians, and those riding alternative modes of transportation to fill the streets at the 51st CicLaVia event.

Along the 5.75-mile stretch of Venice from Venice Beach to National Boulevard were four stations lined with booths and activities for people to partake in while working their way down the street. Local organizations and city departments both offered services and information at the event, ranging from bike repairs to details on upcoming transportation projects.

CicLaVia was inspired by a similar event held in Bogota, Columbia, and was first held in Los Angeles in 2010. Fourteen years later, CicLaVia has allowed almost 2 million Angelenos to explore over 300 miles of carless streets across their 51 events.

Elected officials also made their way out to celebrate the return of the beloved open streets event. The Westside’s Fifth District Councilmember Katy Yaroslavsky spoke of how unifying CicLaVia feels and said that her kids were excited to return to enjoy the event.

“One of my favorite things about this event is that it reminds us that in a city of 100’s of diverse and unique neighborhoods, we are all connected to each other by the infrastructure of Los Angeles,” Yaroslavsky said. 

“When we open it up and make it safe and easy for people to access that infrastructure, you realize just how connected our neighborhoods are.”

Traci Park — the Westside’s councilmember for L.A.’s 11th District — also made remarks at CicLaVia. She talked about the importance of Venice Boulevard as a connection between Venice Beach and the Downtown communities of Los Angeles and noted that Travel and Leisure magazine recently named Venice Beach the best beach in the United States.

“This is such an awesome event where we can get our communities together and really showcase some of the best of what our city has to offer,” Park said.

Third District Supervisor Lindsey Horvath also participated at CicLaVia with her dog Winston in her arms. She emphasized the importance of creating a place where people using all modes of transportation can feel safe and said bike infrastructure was the way to make that happen

“It’s really exciting to be out here and see our communities from this perspective,” Horvath said. “As we come out and see our communities as pedestrians or bikers, we get a different perspective and that gives us insight into safety and how we build communities for everybody.”

Representatives from L.A. city departments that focus on public transportation — LA Metro and the Department of Transportation (LADOT) — also praised the event and the importance of continuing to encourage the use of more sustainable modes of transportation in the city.

“It is important regardless if you are moving one person [with a bike] or 100’s of people at a time with trains and buses,” Metro Deputy Executive Officer Frank Ching said at the event.

“This route along Venice has always been one of the most popular for bringing people out of their homes, out of their cars, and into the open streets of L.A.,” said LADOT Chief of Staff Yesenia Arias.

Arias also mentioned the addition of a bus-only lane and protected bike lane to the street by LADOT, which was not there when CicLaVia previously held an event on Venice Boulevard last July.

“This has made Venice more safe and accessible to all users,” she said.

But arguably the most impactful statement at the event was made by the organizers of CicLaVia itself. CicLaVia executive director Romel Pascual announced that CicLaVia would be continuing its ramp-up around Los Angeles to hold events every five weeks, compared to just three total events per year that were hosted before 2021 and 2022.

“Back in 2010, 2011, and parts of 2012, it was one to two times a year, now it’s every five weeks,” Pascual said. “That is amazing.”

For more information on CivLaVia, visit their website here.

Photo by the author.

west los angeles news
west los angeles news
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