Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, flanked by a host of city, Metrolink and CicLAvia officials, held a press conference this morning at Union Station to promote Sunday’s CicLAvia event, calling it an opportunity for Angelinos to reclaim L.A.’s public space from the automobile.
“We are reclaiming public space that we paid for that we never really use in its full offering,” the mayor said.
With an expanded north/south spur that adds three miles to the route, the mayor predicted that Sunday’s event would be even bigger than the last two, although he did not speculate as to how much bigger it could be.
The event generates a lot of economic activity, the mayor said, and that could be used to encourage future philanthropic support to fund future CicLAvias in the L.A. region. “This is becoming a brand. We will see a lot more economic support for it.”
Sunday’s CicLAvia will benefit from lessons learned on the prior two events. For instance, organizers are now urging cyclists to slow down and create a safer environment for everyone. They have also created “CicLAvia Walks” to encourage slower movements along streets so that people can more fully enjoy the architectural and cultural attractions and frequent local businesses.
While talking about the City of L.A.’s Bicycle Master Plan, Villaraigosa said the city will make good on its goal of building 40 miles of bikeways per year. “This city is going to be a leading city for bicycles…We’ve got to do it.”
Officials also used the press event to announce that Metrolink will be ready with its new bicycle train cars in time for Sunday’s CicLAvia. Ten retrofitted bike cars will be introduced into regular service this weekend. Each bike car accommodates 20 bikes.
The bike cars will be placed into permanent service and circulated on all routes throughout the Metrolink System starting next week.
Metro is also encouraging Metro Rail to access the CicLAvia route. There are now 12 Metro Rail stations on or near the Ciclavia route.