Thursday, March 19, 2009

Is Fairfax ready for a Ciclovia?

Today we participated in an event sponsored by the Alliance for Biking and Walking (formerly Thunderhead Alliance) entitled Bring the Ciclovia to Your Streets: Lessons From Experts. "Ciclovia, a Spanish term meaning 'bike path', is a temporary closure of streets to cars, and opening of streets to people biking, walking, skating, etc." A panel of experts answered questions from advocates around the country about holding Ciclovias.

Ciclovias are great events that open the streets to everyone, usually for a period of time on a Sunday morning. Local groups often sponsor activities in the streets. Some examples are dance and yoga groups doing demonstrations and holding classes, bike rentals and bike repair stands, aerobics classes; the possibilities are endless.

Organizers of events in Chicago (Sunday Parkways), Cleveland (Walk+Roll), and San Francisco (Sunday Streets) provided many tips on holding such events. It's important to meet early in the planning process with affected businesses and organizations to explain the concept, including examples of events in other areas. To many people it's a new idea, unlike most other events that require the streets to be closed. The first event is always the most difficult. Once people how well the events are received by the public, subsequent events become much easier.

Is Fairfax ready for a Ciclovia? Where would you like to see the streets opened up to the public for a few hours on the weekend?


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