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CicLAvia draws 100,000 Southlanders to car-free downtown LA

October 7, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Miles of streets in and around downtown Los Angeles were closed to vehicles and open to bicyclists, skateboarders, roller skaters and pedestrians for CicLAvia on Sunday.

Bicyclists had full control of the streets and riders took advantage of the event, which is a bike festival with the mission to promote exercising and healthy living for all.

"You've got to get out of your car. You should be walking everyday or running everyday," said Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, a longtime supporter of the event.

CivLAvia route map and event information

The mayor also encouraged people to take public transportation, but most pedaled to the event. Christopher McGinnis came all the way from the Westside.

"I've never done it before, so I figured this time around, it was a good time to really give it a shot and see what it was all about," McGinnis said.

And with gas prices at all-time highs, CicLAvia was also a great way to get motorists to keep their cars in park and opt for transportation of the two-wheel kind - or three in Dan Marazon's case. He brought along his Trikke.

"I drive for a living, so this is really nice to see the streets clear, and I can get out and ride without having to worry about getting hit by a car on my Trikke," said Marazon.

About 100,000 avid riders from across Southern California took part in the fifth installment of the event that happens twice a year. A total of 9 miles were shut down and car-free for five hours across Boyle Heights, Chinatown and Exposition Park. Some ramps on the 5 Freeway and the Hollywood Freeway in downtown L.A. and Boyle Heights were shut through the morning. Ramps on the Harbor Freeway near Staples Center were also closed. Road closures lasted until about 3 p.m.

Simply put, CicLAvia's purpose was to get people moving - and the mission was accomplished.

Meantime, the 28th annual Long Beach Marathon shut Shoreline Drive on Sunday morning. Races began as early as 6 a.m. and approximately 25,000 people were expected to turn out, according to the race website.

The route crossed the Queensway Bridge and ran to the bow of the Queen Mary, then circled back around the Aquarium of the Pacific, back by Shoreline Village and down the beach. It also passed through the Cal State Long Beach campus.

Other closures in Los Angeles included closures downtown due to President Barack Obama's visit. The 105 Freeway near Los Angeles International Airport was also shut due to filming. That closure lasted until 7 p.m.


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