MTA looks at funding new CicLAvia-style events outside LA city

CicLAvia

Todd Johnson/KPCC

Cyclists and pedestrians climb Wilshire Boulevard in downtown L.A. during the seventh CicLAvia event on June 23, 2013.

Local cities and communities that want to copy L.A's CicLAvia car-free events may get help soon from Metro.

The regional transportation agency's board voted Thursday to explore putting $2 million per year into CicLAvia-style street parties within Los Angeles County but otuside the city boundaries.

Seven times since October 2010, Los Angeles city and the nonprofit group CicLAvia have closed major streets to motorized traffic, opening miles of asphalt to cyclists, skaters, runners, walkers and others for a day of outdoor fun.

Aaron Paley, a co-founder of CicLAvia, said other cities express what you might call CicLAvia envy. The calls, he said, go like this:  "I can't believe that Los Angeles pulled that off. If you can do this in Los Angeles, we should be able to do it in, fill in the name of the city here."

He's fielded questions from cities across the United States —Baltimore, Salt Lake City, Riverside, San Antonio, San Diego — and from cities within Los Angeles County.

"We met with officials of Pomona, and Claremont with the city of San Fernando, with South Gate, Huntington Park, and Lynwood, Bell and Maywood. We met with Glendale and Burbank," Paley said.

The Metro board asked its staff to report on how it might contribute $2 million of its annual budget to expand these kinds of events within the county. Metro envisions creating a process for communities to compete for funds to put on car-free days in their areas.

After two events this year that took participants from Union Station to Venice Beach, and along iconic Wilshire Boulevard corridor, the next CicLAvia is October 6, when the route, called "Heart of L.A," returns to the downtown Los Angeles streets where it all started.

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