Continuing on the topic yesterday’s post about how my neighborhood used to be a bike track, I figured that I should follow-up the entry with something bicycle related. I saw this video a few months ago and even sent it to my old Urban Geography Professor. The 7 minute video is about Ciclovia in Bogota, Colombia, which is a a weekly event in which over 70 miles of city streets are closed to traffic. As you can see in the video, residents come out to walk, bike, run, skate, recreate, picnic, do aerobics, and basically enjoy the city safely and pollution-free.
I found the video to be very inspirational. In the back of my mind, I began constructing the theoretical Ciclovia map of Washington, DC. What roads would be closed? Would people take part en masse? Or would it be relegated to some corporate sponsored yearly event like Bike to Work Day?
Frankly, I don’t know, but I think it would be fun to start small. DC currently has miles 17 miles of bike lanes, and I don’t think people would give up their coveted on-street parking in favor of bicyclists, so most streets can’t be closed off. However, there are some streets that could be (and sometimes are) made one-way (P Street) and there are some wide streets that could be partially closed (15th Street). In this respect, DC could do a Cyclovia and it wouldn’t require that much work.
But what about participation? If you delineate it, will they ride on it? That being, if there was to be a Cycloviva, would there be enough people riding their bikes to justify the road closures? Frankly, I don’t think there would be enough sustained interest if it were a weekly event– not enough bicyclists in DC. Instead I think it would work better as a seasonal event. Cyclovia Spring, Cyclovia Summer, etc. and over time there might be a critical mass.