Coming to a city near you this summer — Ciclovia

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Every Sunday and holiday, some 70 miles of streets in Bogota, Colombia, are closed to motor vehicles, allowing bicycle riders, skaters and pedestrians to roam free.

That ciclovia-style celebration has been catching on in some U.S. cities, where a thoroughfare or city park is ruled car-free for one or more weekend days in the spring and summer.

Now, more U.S. cities are ready to join those that already make their streets more liveable for at least one day a year.

Planning its first ciclovia is Spokane, Washington. Among cities that have a history of ciclovia-style events are Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, New York City, San Jose, Kansas City and Chicago.

These are great times to get the family out for a no-hassle bike ride.

Writing about shooting this short film about Bogota's ciclovia for, Clarence Eckerson wrote:

“What immediately comes to mind when I think back to our trip were the ubiquitous smiles on everyone's faces wherever we went. Nearly 1.8 million Colombians out using the Ciclovia and Recreovia to de-stress, get healthy, and connect personally with their fellow citizens. Young or old, rich or poor, pedestrian or cyclist – in Bogotá everyone loves the Ciclovia.”

In Seattle, a winding stretch of Lake Washington Boulevard is closed to cars on most Sundays on May through September. [Here's the 2009 Bicycle Sunday schedule; check back for 2010.] If I'm riding around the lake, I always try to incorporate this on my route.

Here's some news from cities that are planning ciclovia-style events in 2010:

Spokane, WA — Howard Street from Riverfront Park to Corbin Park will be closed on July 11 and Aug. 22. See the Spokane Summer Parkways page on Facebook for this first-ever event;

Kansas City, MO — The city has been making Cliff Drive car-free from 2 p.m. Friday until 8 a.m. Monday for the past two years. Now it's planning a full-fledged Ciclovia-style festival on May 16 to kick off Bike Week.

Miami — Bike Miami Days features rides through downtown. More info at Bike Miami blog.

San Jose, CA — A downtown street will be closed to motor vehicles for a day to coincide with the San Jose Cycling Classic, which begins May 15.

Portland, ORSunday Parkways will be held May 16, June 27, July 18, Aug. 15 and Sept. 26 in 2010. The event visits a car-free route in a different part of the city on every date. Check the website for details.

Seattle, WA — The Bicycle Sundays comprised 19 car-free Sundays on Lake Washington Boulevard last year. Co-sponsored by Cascade Bicycle Club and Seattle Parks and Rec, no word on event dates yet this year.

Ottawa, Canada — The Alcatel-Lucent Sunday Bikedays have been celebrated every summer for some 20 years. Every Sunday from mid-May through Sept. 6, more than 30 miles of scenic parkways are car-free.

The ciclovia-style event crossed the border into El Paso, Texas, several years ago. It later became known as Scenic Sundays, when the city closed Scenic Driver to motor vehicle traffic on Sunday mornings.

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1 comment

  1. Sep26StabbyCerberus Have you already foettgorn the 90+ degree weather from June through August? I was shopping for a bike up until that point, then gave up and opted for a pool membership, instead. But, a few weeks ago, while shopping for a new bike for the teenage one, I happened upon the bike I had been looking for and unable to find in the Spring a Schwinn hybrid. It’s fun to ride, but until I can figure out how to carry a 30-pack of Natty Boh on the thing, I’m not giving up the car

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