New CicLAvia Route Promises Easier Access for Westsiders

Ciclavia map for October 2012CicLAvia has announced a new route for this coming October’s rolling street party. As detailed in LA.Streetsblog, there are some changes that distinguish the upcoming event from the four already held. Notably there are new departure points at MacArthur Park and Exposition Park that will make it more convenient for riders from the Beverly Hills area to join in. The change represents an ambitious evolution for the city’s premier closed-street block party.

For Westside riders, the good news is that it is easier than ever to take part in CicLAvia. Last year, the western spur began at Heliotrope & Melrose (‘Hel-Mel’ in local parlance) in East Hollywood. Known among the cognoscenti as the birthplace of maker bike culture (as popularized by the infamous Bicycle Kitchen coop until it decamped for swankier quarters), Hel-Mel might be the spiritual birthplace of a CicLAvia, but as a embarkation point it wasn’t convenient to Westsiders via mass transit. We didn’t see a lot of Beverly Hills riders on that spur!

This year’s route makes a couple of key changes. First, there are new spurs north into Chinatown and south into South Los Angeles. At the same time, event organizers pulled in the eastern and western spurs. So out is Hollenbeck Park in the northeast; the Eastside spur is now anchored by the Gold Line’s Mariachi Plaza and Soto Station hubs. There also are new western spurs with hubs that are accessible by rail.

Easier Access for Westside Riders

MacArthur ParkThis year, the western spur is anchored by MacArthur Park, that historic greensward bisected by Wilshire Boulevard and hard by the center of the region’s Central American community at Alvarado. Last year, CicLAvia literally passed the park by. On 7th Street Hel-Mel riders hardly blinked as they headed downtown. This year, MacArthur gets the love with its own hub at Alvarado and Wilshire, adjacent to the subway stop. Now Westsiders can take the Purple Line subway from its Wilshire/Western terminus to the MacArthur/Westlake station. From there, CicLAvia accesses Downtown via 7th Street totally car-free.

Expo line USC Trousdale stationThis year CicLAvia also adds Exposition Park in South Los Angeles to the mix. That not only  means another park gets the love, but riders now can access CicLAVia via the Expo Line. Simply board at Culver City or La Cienega station and take Expo to the USC/Trousdale Parkway station at Exposition Park. There you’ll find the Natural History Museum, California Science Center (and IMAX Theatre) and the California African American Museum. The park is a perfect embarkation point for a car-free ride into Downtown via Figueroa.

Getting to these new Westside CicLAvia hubs is easy. From Beverly Hills, take the 720 or Wilshire local bus to Alvarado and the new ride hub at MacArthur. For an all-rubber ride, just pick up 6th St. east of La Cienega for a ride right to MacArthur Park. That’s about a 7-mile urban-style ride but 6th Street on a Sunday is totally manageable. (Note that if you bus it, Metro equips buses with dual bike carriers, but you may have to let a bus or two pass to get a free carrier.)

To the Culver City hub, ride Beverwil south to Castle Heights through Beverlywood. Turn left on National for a few blocks then right under the 10 Fwy and on to Venice Blvd. Cross over and few blocks east you’ll see the Expo station. This is an easy 4 mile ride from the center of Beverly Hills.

Expo Line La Cienega station panorama
Looking north from the Expo Line station at La Cienega.

Whether you ride to CicLAvia, take transit, or drive & park near a hub, be sure to get out and enjoy this terrific event’s new attractions. Not just MacArthur and Exposition parks but also the new Civic Park (now under construction between 1st St. & Temple). The park lives up to its name by bringing into thematic alignment key Los Angeles governing institutions, namely two poles of political power – DWP and City Hall – as well as the Music Center, LA County’s HQ, and various County court buildings. It’s the civic axis long promised but never delivered. Consider it a gift to riders from CicLAvia! Download a PDF of the new route and happy riding!