Imagining Los Angeles without cars

BikeSD reader, Travis, sent us this story from the L.A. Times. The story is about a group called cicLAvia, playing on the original name ciclovía, who wants to shut down major thoroughfares in Los Angles once a week and turn it into “a town where people ride their bikes and walk in the streets and the smells of tacos and veggie burgers drift through the air instead of exhaust.” A pipe dream? Hardly. The idea originally began “thirty years ago as a response to the congestion and pollution of city streets” in Bogotá, Colombia.

If there is one thing Southern California is known for, besides the year round perfect weather, it is smog and the car-entrenched culture. But can Los Angelenos and San Diegans imagine life outside the automobile?

The idea of ciclovía came from the former Bogotá mayor Enrique Peñalosa, who decided to subscribe to the economic model of hedonics, a philosophy whose proponents focus on fostering not economic growth but human happiness. After being elected Peñalosa said,

A city can be friendly to people or it can be friendly to cars, but it can’t be both,” the new mayor announced. He shelved the highway plans and poured the billions saved into parks, schools, libraries, bike routes and the world’s longest “pedestrian freeway.

So what does it look like on that one day a week that major thoroughfares go back to the people? Watch the Streetsfilm video below.

We’re very excited about what cicLAvia is doing and are inspired to try bringing those ideas to San Diego.