Organizing CicLAvia: An Experience of Public Space in Los Angeles

Days before the American Planning Association's national convention, CicLAvia's Aaron Paley describes the event's origins and evolution and explains how an open streets event in Los Angeles can transform one's sense of public space and the city.

On Sunday, April 15th, LA neighborhoods from East Hollywood to Boyle Heights will transform, as major boulevards become car-free pedestrian and bike spaces during CicLAvia. The Planning Report sat down with Aaron Paley, president of Community Arts Resources (CARS) and a founder of the public event, to discuss the conceptual underpinnings of the CicLAvia, how it is organized, and where it is growing and evolving. Inspired by the weekly Ciclovia in Bogotá, the Los Angeles event is expected to attract over 100,000 participants, and planners hope to see it happen more often and in different neighborhoods across the large city.

Paley emphasizes that CicLAvia, in his mind, is not just about bicycles and exercise-it's a fun experience of public space that transforms one's concept of how we as individuals relate to the city. CicLAvia is an opportunity for residents to see, smell, and hear the streets of Los Angeles without its famous traffic. Paley notes, "For planners, really, the lesson that can be taken away here is that temporary interventions-light, quick, cheap, ways of transforming the city-can be just as influential as brick, mortar, and concrete. Through this method we can take more risks and show how things can get done in a demonstrative way."

Thanks to Kevin Madden

Full Story: CicLAvia's Aaron Paley on the Spectacle's Trajectory, Notions of Public Space

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