CicLAvia route for October 2014: Bringing it to the Eastside!
With the 10th CicLAvia in Los Angeles now behind us, we take a look at last Sunday’s festivities with a few snaps. After just a few years running, the city’s premier closed-street festival has not only become institutionalized – that is, carried over with enthusiasm from the Villaraigosa to the Garcetti administration – but is reaching out to new areas like East Los Angeles. Behold the joy of closed streets from Echo Park to the Eastside!
Embarking from the western terminus at the southern tip of Echo Park, the route followed Glendale Boulevard southeast. Once the the route of the city’s first subway line before ducking underground near Beverly, today Glendale took CicLAvia to 2nd street and through the tunnel westward. Notably, City of Los Angeles put the tunnel on a ‘road diet’: now it’s two traffic lanes with buffered bicycle lanes! The tunnel was a high point of festivities on Sunday: not only having it to ourselves, but enjoying that interminable echo too!
After exiting the 2nd street tunnel, Downtown welcomed CicLAvia with a rotary hub at Broadway, where the two routes converged into a chaotic swirl with a dance tent at the center. From this hub, spurs ventured north into Chinatown and south to Broadway and 9th street.
The south Broadway spur was a highlight for the historic department store architecture and legendary theater corridor – the foundation of a ‘bring back Broadway’ initiative by the city. A few years hence we’ll marvel that we collectively ever let Broadway decline so. But the corridor is still a hard sell to many Angelenos, who can see how far we’ve yet to go to realize the Broadway renaissance. CicLAVia allows us to contemplate this great wide way studded with icons like the Los Angeles and Palace theaters, and all without the headache-inducting buzz of everyday Broadway traffic.
Through the Chinatown gate the northern Broadway spur reached, taking riders deep into the heart of the city’s second actual Chinatown. This neighborhood, once Anglo, received the displaced once construction began on Union Station southeast on Alamdeda. That was the locale of the original, long-gone Chinese-majority settlement.
Today’s Chinatown (along the Broadway spine) is notable for its distinct vernacular. Here programmatic architecture provides a backdrop for CicLAvia’s northern hub. But change is coming fast to Chinatown, so get a good luck before it’s gone.
Crossing the 4th Street Bridge (1930) by any means necessary! There is no finer way to appreciate the transition from Downtown to the Eastside than traversing one of the dozen or so historic spans.
Once over the bridge, Ciclovians coursed through Boyle Heights streets. Unlike past years, today’s route approached iconic Mariachi Plaza from the south. And what a hub it was! Packed with folks who converged from all over the city to enjoy the many restaurants that line the plaza.
Vendor booths and information kiosks marked the Mariachi Plaza hub, with the adjacent Gazebo providing color and nearby Libros Schmibros providing the literary culture.
Los Angeles Councilmember Jose Huizar reminds Ciclovians that he’s behind multimodal mobility while City Council colleague Gil Cedillo remains in the advocates’ doghouse for sinking #Fig4all in Highland Park. For shame, Cedillo!
‘Metro moves you’ indeed! Metro is a major sponsor of CicLAvia, and like every event makes this street party accessible without resorting to motor transportation. Three cheers for the Metro mascot! Hey guy, drop by a Beverly Hills City Council meeting for some of our lovin,’ won’t you?
Here we are, snaking our way down Caesar Chavez toward East Los Angeles. Hungry for a taco? You wouldn’t have been disappointed: there are dozens of options in this most colorful and tasty neighborhood of Boyle Heights. Once one of the city’s earliest suburbs, home to Jews and Protestant gentry alike, today it’s Latino dominate. The bonus? Unlike Westside CicLAvia routes, this eastern variant is more about good food than ever.
That wraps up another great CicLAvia from Aaron Paley and the good folks that bring you Southern California’s premier closed-street bike & ped festival. You’ve come for the liberated streets; you’ve stayed to see the great variety of city culture on display; and you finally you’ve pedaled away belly-filled with tacos. That’s a might-fine recipe for a successful CicLAvia, and once again the good folks at CicLAvia HQ delivered!
In exactly four short years (tomorrow marks the anniversary of the first event), CicLAvia has made its mark on the culture and calendar of the larger region. Consider supporting CicLAvia and/or volunteering for the next event on December 7th. Mark your calendar!