Car-Free Sunday Celebrations
A growing number of cities throughout North and South America close certain streets on Sundays for the enjoyment of families and residents on bikes or on foot. The Colombian capital of Bogotá pioneered the idea, and today it’s spread from Latin America to a growing list of North American cities, including Atlanta, Madison, Los Angeles, Vancouver, Cleveland, Chicago, Tucson and El Paso. Traffic-clogged avenues are temporarily transformed into a rolling street fair, with food vendors, dancing and games for the kids. In Bogotá, as many as two million people turn out for the weekly festivities.
(left) Closing streets on Sunday is just part of Bogotá’s ambitious plans to encourage cycling. The city also created the largest network of bikeways South America and built a 27-mile urban greenway. Photo: Bogotá Bike Tours
A new way to see the city
Close to 100,000 Angelenos turned out for the inaugural ‘CicLAvia’ in 2010 to pedal through miles of streets closed to cars in downtown Los Angeles. The event drew many families, even young children who rode in trailers or tag-alongs hitched to their parents’ bikes. Participants made frequent stops to enjoy entertainment, food stands and bicycle information booths along the routes. Experiencing city streets at a leisurely pace without the presence of car traffic is a delightful, eye-opening experience that fosters civic pride.
(right) Los Angeles' ‘CicLAvia’ Photo: Gary Leonard