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CicLAvia draws Angelenos to downtown streets

April 10, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Southlanders took to the streets of Los Angeles Sunday for the city's second annual CicLAvia ride.

About 7.5 miles of city roads were closed to auto traffic to accommodate bicyclists, skate boarders and walkers. The event was scheduled to last from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. All roads were expected to be back open to regular traffic by 3:30 p.m.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa kicked off the event in little Tokyo along with seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong.

Event organizers stressed that the event is not a race but a leisurely ride through neighborhoods outside the confines of a car.

CicLAvia was patterned after Ciclovia, a similar ride in Bogota, Colombia. The original event was a response to the congestion and pollution of city streets. It is now celebrated in cities across the United States.

Last year's event drew an estimated 100,000 people, and organizers hoped to see an even bigger turnout this year.

The two-way route ran between Hollenbeck Park in Boyle Heights and Heliotrope Avenue, just north of Melrose Avenue, in Hollywood.

The route also included Fourth Street into downtown, the Westlake District, MacArthur Park, Silverlake and Koreatown.

Organizers of the event hope to have the route expanded to the Westside and give people more access to city streets outside of their cars.

City News Service contributed to this report.