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Posts tagged "CicloviaMadness"

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The Rise of Open Streets

Streetfilms has been documenting the open streets movement for over seven years, beginning with our landmark film in 2007 on Bogota's Ciclovia, currently the most viewed Streetfilm of all time.

The next year, Mike Lydon of The Street Plans Collaborative decided to get an open streets event going in Miami, which led to his research for The Open Streets Project, a joint project with the Alliance for Biking & Walking.

Miami wasn't alone. In 2008, there were new open streets events in more than a dozen cities, including San Francisco, Portland and New York. All told, open streets events have increased tenfold since 2006.

"The Rise of Open Streets" examines the open streets movement from myriad perspectives -- how it began, how events are run, how they shape people's perceptions of their streets, and how creating car-free space, even temporarily, benefits people's lives. And it looks not only at big cities like Los Angeles, but smaller ones like Fargo, Berkeley, and Lexington.

We've interviewed some of the most important people in the movement, including former NYC DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and former Chicago DOT Commissioner Gabe Klein, as well as former Bogota Parks Commissioner Gil Penalosa and Enrique Jacoby, from the Pan American Health Organization.

We were proud to partner with The Street Plans Collaborative and the Alliance for Biking & Walking to produce this film, which we hope will encourage even more open streets events throughout the world. Funding for "The Rise of Open Streets" was graciously provided by the Fund for the Environment & Urban Life.

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First-Ever Sunday Streets Event Transforms Downtown Berkeley

Some 40,000 people flooded downtown Berkeley on a brilliantly sunny day in October, as the city became the latest in the San Francisco Bay Area to host a "Sunday Streets" open streets-style event.  Organizers closed 17 blocks of Berkeley's Shattuck Avenue to cars––and opened them to pretty much everything else. Cyclists pedaled, hula hoops turned, children frolicked, climbers scaled a mobile rock wall, and musicians inspired scores to break out in dance.  Families took leisurely strolls through streets transformed, while restaurants in North Berkeley's "gourmet ghetto" turned a brisk business.  Residents surveyed a demonstration "parklet" that could soon see Berkeley parking spaces transformed into temporary green spaces, and the East Bay Bicycle Coalition showcased plans for a major upgrade to the city's bicycle network at Hearst Avenue.

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Via RecreActiva: A Transformative Ciclovia for Guadalajara

In Spanish/en Español: click here.

Watch this film in Spanish Guadalajara, Mexico is showing how amazingly transformative a ciclovia-style road closure can be for its citizens. In 7 years, their inaugural Sunday event Via RecreActiva has grown from just 7 miles with 35,000 participants to 41 miles with 400,000 users every Sunday. It goes from 8 am to 2 pm. It covers 6 municipalities. The diversity of activities features traditional ciclovia staples like aerobic classes and music, but also some new wrinkles including free haircuts for children and a city that clearly knows how to hula hoop!

Another unique aspect of this story is that one of the forces behind the success of the Via RecreActiva is a civil association called Guadalajara 2020, a group of primarily made of  business owners, real estate people and entrepreneurs who envision Guadalajara to be a healthier, greener and more humane city.

That mission includes bringing better transit to the city, making it safer to walk & bike and create equality and empowerment among its people. Perhaps it is best put by Guadalajara 2020's President, José Palacios Jiménez, who told us:

"...we would like to be able to remove the cars from the entire city. Because with all the information we manage to get, we are able to understand that the biggest problem of humanity are the cars."

Guadalajara does feature  public spaces on par with the greatest in the world, but also faces many extraordinary challenges with horrible traffic and unsafe pedestrian environments on nearly every street.  It's refreshing to see business folks not only speaking out and understanding the real solutions, but investing their funds to create an organization like Guadalajara 2020.

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CicLAvia 2011: Los Angelenos Take Back the Streets

In a city that has defined itself by both cars and status symbols, CicLAvia is more than a seven and a half mile street party with a funny name, it's one of the many signs that Los Angeles is changing and one's status is not represented by the car that one owns.

But for the people that took to the streets on April 10, 2011, CicLAvia was about many other things.  Freedom, fun, fellowship and community were just some of the answers Rob Adams got when he asked Angelenos from all walks life what CicLAvia meant to them.  And what's a film without some cameo appearances?  Look for Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and an even more famous cyclist as Adams pedals his way through another wonderful Southern Californian Sunday.

This is Adams' second film on CicLAvia.  His first, from exactly six months earlier on 10/10/10, can be viewed here.

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CicLAvia, Let’s Go!

For Angelenos, Sunday was a day that we’ll never forget.  Our first Open Streets party was an unparalleled success.  So much so that even the critics of the concept grudgingly came on board when it was obvious that they missed the boat on supporting and experiencing a groundbreaking day.

The Los Angeles Times estimates that 100,000 people took to the streets to celebrate CicLAvia.  Of course, that number doesn’t count all the of residents that sat on their porches or balconies and enjoyed the car-free festival environment that permeated the air.

But perhaps the image that will remain after these festivals become the norm, instead of the exception, will be L.A.’s suddenly bike-friendly Mayor acting like a kid with a new toy as he hopped on a bike and pedaled away from Hollenbeck Park at the start of the festival with a smile on his face and a shout of joy coming from his heart.

“Let’s Go!”  he shouts as he takes off to celebrate the day.  Hopefully Sunday was the turning point for Los Angeles as we all “go” into our clean transportation future.

-Damien Newton

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Thousands Play in Oakland’s Streets at the First-Ever ‘Oaklavia’

On Sunday, June 27th, Downtown Oakland opened two miles of its streets to fun and activities—zumba dancing, circus arts, BMX bike competitions and performances from local musicians. Walk Oakland Bike Oakland (WOBO) partnered with the East Bay Bicycle Coalition, Oaklandish, Oakland YMCA, Cycles of Change, SPOKES, and other civic organizations to create the East Bay's first “Sunday Streets” style event. Preparations are in the works for another Oaklavia in the coming months.

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San Jose Hosts Inaugural “ViaVelo” Event Celebrating Cycling

San Jose, California, recently joined cities around the world in promoting car-free streets by hosting its first ciclovía, the Mattson Technology ViaVelo, which opened a portion of San Fernando Street in downtown to pedestrians, bicycle riders, and skaters. San Jose's first foray into ciclovía events was a hit with sponsors, elected officials and the throngs of people who showed up to enjoy the day. Though the city hasn't yet committed to more ViaVelos, the foundation has been set and the community seems poised to embrace them.

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San Francisco’s Foggy Sunday Streets 2009

Despite a blanket of fog, the last San Francisco Sunday Streets of 2009 was, from all accounts, a smashing success, one of the most popular so far, with thousands of people enjoying four activity-filled hours of pristine car-free space through Golden Gate Park and the Great Highway. Kids, families, bicyclists, skaters, dancers, and even the MTA Chief Nat Ford came out to enjoy the carfree zone.

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NYC Summer Streets 2009

On Saturday the New York City Department of Transportation and partners kicked off the second annual Summer Streets. A car-free zone was created from 7 AM to 1 PM starting at 72nd Street and traveled mainly along Park Ave to the Brooklyn Bridge. New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan estimated that double the number of people visited the 7 mile route compared to the first Summer Streets event last year. If you missed Summer Streets on Saturday, don't worry for you have two more chances to experience the car-free bliss on August 15th and 22nd.

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San Francisco Does Sunday Streets

For two glorious Sundays, San Francisco closed streets along a stretch of its waterfront to cars – and opened them to humanity. A second "Sunday Streets San Francisco" event on September 14th reprised an August 31st street party, both of which saw thousands of people come out to run, skate, cycle, dance, or stroll their way through a cityscape transformed. Organizers styled the event of Bogota's
Ciclovia,
as San Francisco became the latest U.S. city to participate in a growing movement to liberate urban space from automobiles.

Check out Streetswiki for more.

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Summer Streets 2008 (NYC)

Feeling remarkably similar to Bogota's Ciclovia, the New York City Department of Transportation held its first Summer Streets event on Saturday by opening 7 miles of city streets to pedestrians and bike traffic only. From 7 AM to 1 PM, roads were car-free from 72nd Street to the Brooklyn Bridge with Park Avenue serving as the backbone of the route. Our Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan is the real deal - she spent the entire day riding a bike around the course (and even said some nice things about me to my mom.)

We'll spare you the 200 adjectives we could list about how transformational it was, for it was beyond anything on the printed page. The general consensus was that the event succeeded beyond even the most hoped for expectations and would pass even the most pessimistic of measuring sticks. A page has been turned, clearly there is no doubt: the future will hold many more large scale street openings for pedestrians, cyclists, runners, children, dog walkers, dancers, and any other reasonable livable space use.

The swarms of people and happy faces made for much positive energy. Around noon, some blocks were getting very crowded, but there was a general courtesy that existed between pedestrians and cyclists. The city built it - and the people came. And they smiled a lot.

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Portland’s Sunday Parkways

Despite a very dreary and damp first half of the day, Portland's first Ciclovia-style street closure, Sunday Parkways, was a smashing success with countless thousands of city residents participating. It was like a giant community block party with walkers, bikers, joggers, bladers, families, and pets filling the 6 mile course.

There were plenty of fun activities in four northeast parks that were linked by the circuit, which was opened to bikes and pedestrian traffic only from 8 AM to 2 PM. For cities planning their own Ciclovias, here are some things I liked about Portland's event: knowledgeable volunteers, lots of fun chalk messages on the ground, easy to follow directions, lots of music & entertainment, and a huge number of bike stations for bike repair.

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Car-Free Vancouver Day

The Towards Car-free Cities Conference is wrapping up here in Portland but car-free events go on. On Sunday June 15th, Vancouver hosted a Car-Free Day featuring four simultaneous Community Festivals. Frank Lopez brings you this recap. Check out your local car-free events this weekend. There are two block parties in NYC and Portland is launching Sunday Parkways. Link to your local car-free events in the comment section.

StreetFilms
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Ciclovia (Express Version)

Since many cities around the world are now flirting with the idea of doing their own Ciclovia-style street closures, we have been asked by a few individuals and advocates for a shorter version of our Ciclovia film, which is helping push the debate from idea to reality in some places. And so we have capitulated. Here is a teaser which runs 1/4 the original length.

But you should really still check out the full version here.

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Ciclovia: Bogotá, Colombia

Recently, I had the opportunity to travel with comrades Karla Quintero (Transportation Alternatives) and Aaron Naparstek (Streetsblog) to Bogotá, Colombia to document some of the amazing advances going on in the livable streets movement there. On Sunday we spent the entire day - from 5 AM 'til nearly 5 PM - riding bicycles around the city courtesy of the Ciclovia, a weekly event in which over 70 miles of city streets are closed to traffic where residents come out to walk, bike, run, skate, recreate, picnic, and talk with family, neighbors & strangers...it is simply one of the most moving experiences I have had in my entire life. Read more...