A proposed grant from the city of Los Angeles could be a boon for CicLAvia, the special event that closes down miles of streets, effectively turning them into temporary parks for a day. A city panel unanimously on Wednesday approved a motion to use $200,000 from the Mobile Source Air Pollution Reduction Trust Fund (MSAP) for event expenditures.
The fund receives a portion of a six-dollar fee that is imposed on vehicles registered in the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD), according to a report from the Office of the City Administrative Officer. The funds are used to encourage permanent reduction of motor vehicle pollution. Up to 10 percent of the funds received during the fiscal year may be used towards long and short-term public education programs like CicLAvia.
CicLAvia organizer Joe Linton was present at the meeting to encourage committee members to approve the motion so that it can be next approved by the City Council.
"CicLAvia is about health, it's about local business, green transportation, and really about public space and having Angelenos meeting each other in the street in the city," Linton said. "We could really open people's lives up to new modes of getting around, and I am really grateful for the motion allocating these funds to encourage people to try greener modes of transportation including bicycling, walking and public transit."
"We attracted about 80,000 people last April and this year we are doing an extended route this fall that is 10 miles," Linton continued. "We are looking at additional routes in different parts of the city starting late next fiscal year."
The item will go before the City Council during the October 4th meeting, just days before the third and biggest CicLAvia takes place in the city. The October 9th event is expected to attract 100,000 people.
The route from East Hollywood to Boyle Heights, used in the first two CicLAvias, will now include a north-south extension, stretching south to the African American Firefighter Museum on Central Avenue and north to El Pueblo de Los Angeles and Olvera Street, ending at Cesar Chavez Boulevard.
Brad Adams is the representative for Engine No. 11, a new bicycle apparel and shop located on 9th Street in downtown Los Angeles. Adams, a CicLAvia participant from last year, said he is excited about the extended route for October's event.
"I'm bringing my family members from the Inland Empire to participate this year, and we have been planning this since July," Adams said. "I look forward to spending time with my family and being able to ride safely in the streets during CicLAvia."
Besides extending the route for October's CicLAvia, program organizers have also launched CicLAvia walks, a new initiative to provide participants with opportunities to slow down and discover the city in a new way. CicLAvia walks will feature walking tours of downtown with neighborhood guides. The program has also awarded 13 mini grants to artists, musicians and community organizations to present interactive programming and performances throughout the October 9th route.
Regina Graham is a graduate student at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, which has partnered with KCET-TV to produce this blog about policy in Los Angeles.