Area to receive major pedestrian upgrades
The popular CicLaVia program made a stop in Watts last weekend. A one-mile stretch of Central Avenue near Ted Watkins Memorial Park was transformed into “CicLAminiWatts” in marking the beginning of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation’s (LADOT) new Central Avenue Safety Project to include new bus boarding islands, upgraded medians, and new pedestrian crossings and bike lanes.
LADOT and Metro joined together to fund the event in allowing CicLamini to repurpose streets normally designated for drivers in order to provide a recreational, safe, educational and cohesive experience. CicLAvia strives to educate participants on road safety, as well as street accessibility.
“One of the things that we find is that our events tend to be on what is called the high injury network. There’s a network of streets in Los Angeles where the vast majority of accidents and fatalities occur for bicyclists and pedestrians,” said Tafari Bayne, chief strategist for CicLAVia.
The primary focus of the event was to turn this often neglected stretch of Central Avenue into a one-day “public park” to encourage more cycling, skating and walking as opposed to automobiles and public transit.
“We’re looking to celebrate unity and to remind people that streets are for those community residents and that they should be designed to meet folks’ needs. So everytime we do a CicLAvia I think it reminds people what’s possible so we don’t look at streets just as a place for cars to get from Point A to Point B,” said Connie Llanos, interim general manager with LADOT.
The CicLAmini events allow all ages to take advantage of the personalized experience. Participants are encouraged to bike, jog or just take a leisurely stroll. You can also hop in a “pedicab” which are available at all CicLAvia events across the city. Scavenger hunts, art exhibitions and, of course, food trucks were on hand during the afternoon.
In celebration of Juneteenth, the next CicLAvia event will take place on June 18 along Vermont Avenue in South LA. Los Angeles County Supervisor Holly J Mitchell and Mayor Karen Bass are expected to be in attendance.
For more information, visit https://www.ciclavia.org.