Residents of Hollywood and West Hollywood will be able to mix and mingle along six and a half miles of roadway open to biking, walking, roller-skating and skateboarding during “Meet the Hollywoods CicLAvia” in August.
The West Hollywood City Council will be asked on Monday to allocate $223,700 necessary to help fund the event, which also will be funded by a $500,000 grant from the L.A. County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) and by the City of Los Angeles.
City Councilmember Lindsey Horvath in 2015 asked that the city seek the grant from Metro to fund the CicLAvia event. CicLAvia is a non-profit organization that started as a grassroots effort in 2008 to explore how open streets events could address active transportation, urban land use and public health needs in Los Angeles. The first Los Angeles CicLAvia, inspired by the CicLAvia events that started 40 years ago in Bogota, Colombia, was held on Oct. 10, 2010. According to CicLAvia, more than a million people have explored more than 100 miles of open streets in Los Angeles County since the program launched.
“CicLAvia has been opening streets across Los Angeles county since 2010,” the organization says. “ We’ve traversed 165 miles across the the San Fernando Valley, Culver City, Venice, Mar Vista, Wilshire Boulevard, Koreatown, MacArthur Park, South LA, Echo Park, Chinatown, Little Tokyo, Boyle Heights, Historic Downtown, East LA, Pasadena, Pacoima, Arleta, Panorama City, San Pedro, Wilmington, Atwater Village, Glendale and southeast cities.”
Attendance for CicLAvia events has ranged from 20,000 to over 100,000 participants depending on the route selected and the geographic area. The organization says “CicLAvia is also an opportunity for local businesses to engage with the public and can potentially bring thousands of potential customers by open storefronts throughout the day.”
CicLAvia will work with local businesses and apartment buildings that might be affected by the event to provide alternative parking arrangements including the rental of parking lots or reimbursement costs for businesses and residents who are unable to get access to their regular parking spots because of the event. During the day of the event, scheduled for Aug. 18 and which will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Santa Monica Boulevard will be closed to all vehicle travel and parking from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The route extends from Hollywood Boulevard and Vermont at the eastern end to Santa Monica Boulevard and San Vicente on the west, with two and a half miles within West Hollywood’s city limits. A memo from the city’s Planning and Development Services and Economic Development departments says there will be two hubs located along the route in West Hollywood, one at Plummer Park and the other at the end of the route at San Vicente Boulevard. Ciclavia will create the hubs for the event, which include first aid, information, portable toilets, bicycle parking and bicycle repair and items for sale. The hubs will also include local non-profit booths, a city booth, and temporary public art programming.
CicLAvia says that it has had a positive impact on local and regional transportation policy related to pedestrians and bikes. It also notes that it has improved air quality by reducing ultrafine particles in the air by over 20%. The recently released American Lung Association annual “State of the Air” report, which covers the years 2015-2017, ranks Los Angeles as the nation’s “smoggiest city,” a rank it has held for 19 of the past 20 years. It ranks No. 5 among the nation’s “sootiest cities,” a category in which the Fresno area ranks No. 1. While California has the nation’s strongest environmental regulations, air pollution has continued to increase.
The City of West Hollywood has been recognized for implementing “green” building standards to reduce emissions from buildings, however, the city hasn’t reduced vehicle traffic, the major source of air pollution, and continues to struggle to make the city more bicycle friendly.