Greater City Providence

Los Angeles CicLAvia


Ciclovías are an event where a major street(s) in a city is closed to automobiles and turned over to bikes (and pedestrians, and dancers, and performers, and a whole bunch of non-auto activity). The events started in Columbia, South America and have been spreading across the world, with Los Angeles getting into the action on 10/10/10 as seen in the video above.

Wikipedia describes Ciclovía:

Each Sunday and holiday the main streets of Bogotá, Cali, Medellín, and other municipalities, are blocked off for the event to become Carfree. From 7 am to 2 pm, runners, skaters and bicyclists take over the streets. At the same time, stages are set up in city parks. Aerobics instructors, yoga teachers and musicians lead people through various performances. Bogotá’s weekly ciclovías are used by approximately 2 million people (30% of citizens) on over 120 km of carfree streets.

In Bogota, permanently designated bicycle lanes are also known as ciclo-rutas, while streets temporarily closed for that purpose are called ciclovías.

Ciclovías happen in many cities but the inspiration is credited to Bogotá.[1] The events have taken place since 1976 when they started through the efforts of organizer Jaime Ortiz and others. Some credit Bogotá Mayor Hernando Duran Dusan with starting Ciclovías in the early 1980s. Mayor Enrique Peñalosa deserves some credit for turning Bogotá into a safe cycling city by taking on the dominance of automobiles in the late 1990s.

So now the question is, if (when) we start a Ciclovía in Providence, where and when should it be? How often should it be? What type of events should surround the Ciclovía? Should it run all year..? Sound off in the comments.

Jef Nickerson

Jef is Greater City Providence's co-founder, editor, and publisher. He grew up on Cape Cod and lived in Boston; Portland, Maine; and New York before settling in Providence. In addition to urbanism, Jef is interested in art, design, and ice cream. Please feel free to contact Jef if you have any question or comments about Greater City Providence.


  • As a single day event, I say close Memorial Blvd. It’s big, it’s wide, and it would piss off a lot of drivers… but seriously…. it’s got the space to have a pretty awesome event.

    Westminster and Broadway are the other obvious choices. Washington would be an interesting option, too. I’d prefer it somewhere downtown on one of the major streets, maybe one that isn’t closed for events already like Westminster or Empire.

  • A couple of miles of roads in Rock Creek Park in DC have been closed to traffic on weekends for years. It’s a big draw for joggers, bicyclists and general strolling around.

    CivLAvia closed off 7 .5 miles of road. You have to have a least a mile or two to make it a destination for cyclists. I know I don’t want to ride on city streets just to take in a few blocks of no traffic. And while some people have no problem “pissing off” drivers, you need to plan a route that allows alternative routes for drivers. LA went to great lengths to map out a route like that.

    How about something that starts (or ends) at India Point Park – snakes along South Water St to Memorial Park – cross over the river at College – Westminster to Exchange to Fulton to create a stop at Kennedy Plaza in front of City Hall – figure out a nice path downtown (the street grid makes it flexible) to pick up Westminster where it crosses 95, then out Westminster to where it meets Cranston St. You can use the High School parking lot as a destination at that end. Not sure how long that is but it might be a route that balances city streets, open spaces and retail opportunity. It might be nice to be a annual or semi annual event.

    If you want to close off traffic on a more regular basis you could probably close off (or partially close) some the roadway in Roger Williams Park on weekends during the summer. It would be more like the Rock Creek Park example.

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