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Thread: Ciclovia, a car-free biking event

  1. #1
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    Default Ciclovia, a car-free biking event

    http://edmontonjournal.com/news/loca...table-for-2017

    City officials will plan Edmonton’s first car-free festival, or Ciclovia, this fall, proposing a pilot project that could grow into a regular event.

    Coun. Ben Henderson pitched the idea to promote cycling, running and other modes of active transportation, while Mayor Don Iveson said it could be a redevelopment opportunity for local business revitalization zones.
    Council asked officials to prepare a plan and present it during budget discussions in November. The pilot event would happen in 2017.

    “You basically take a roadway on a day that’s not going to cause too many disruptions and you allow people to walk on the space, ride their bikes, do whatever,” said Henderson. “It’s been done hugely successfully in other places. It’s amazing to me that we’ve never looked at doing this.”

    Ciclovia, which is Spanish for cycle-way, started in Bogota, Colombia, where many streets are closed every Sunday to allow people to cycle, walk or run on them.

    The movement has since spread to Australia, Argentina, Belgium, India, the United States and others. In Canada, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Vancouver and other places have held similar events, with Calgary shutting two lanes of Memorial Drive in 2009 as an experiment.

    In Edmonton, the idea most recently came out of a vision session with urban planner Gil Penalosa. It’s being pushed by the community group Paths for People, but Iveson said the Old Strathcona business association has also voiced support.
    It would be run as a partnership between community volunteers and the city.

    “I’m hopeful we can get a bit creative in how to make this work,” Iveson said. “There’s something really special about being able to get out, to having kids and people of all abilities out on the road.”

    Coun. Bev Esslinger said the Kingsway business association has also been interested because of their focus on health. “In many communities around the world, this becomes like every Sunday in August,” she said. “Many of these around the world have become events people look forward to.”
    “You have to dream big. If we want to be a little city, we dream small. If we want to be a big city, we dream big, and this is a big idea.” - Mayor Stephen Mandel, 02/22/2012

  2. #2

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    A perfect endeavour for this council. Lots of virtuous sentiment and the appearance of action but ultimately ephemeral.

  3. #3
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    Yes please, but follow it up with infrastructure.
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  4. #4

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    Sounds lame. If they do it, don't close a major roadway like Whyte. Everyone wants to close Whyte for some stupid reason, despite it being a major thoroughfare.
    "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction" - Blaise Pascal

  5. #5

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    No, if you do it it has to be main(ish?) streets, otherwise what's the point? This is on a weekend, not a weekday rush hour.

    In a car a 15 block detour isn't a real hardship. They would let emergency vehicles through, obviously. It could be Jasper ave end to end, 109st south of Jasper ave to whyte, and whyte from Calgary trail to 109 and it wouldn't be anything more than a minor convenience to anyone.
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  6. #6

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    For the small handful of people that would participate, it would just **** people off. Crowds in '06 when the Oilers made the playoffs? That warranted temporary road closures of a few hours. Closing that road for an entire weekend only to see big traffic snarls and an empty event would not go over well.
    "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction" - Blaise Pascal

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    Quote Originally Posted by Highlander II View Post
    No, if you do it it has to be main(ish?) streets, otherwise what's the point? This is on a weekend, not a weekday rush hour.

    In a car a 15 block detour isn't a real hardship. They would let emergency vehicles through, obviously. It could be Jasper ave end to end, 109st south of Jasper ave to whyte, and whyte from Calgary trail to 109 and it wouldn't be anything more than a minor convenience to anyone.
    As a recreational cyclist I fail to see the point of these proposed closures. I would much prefer spending a Sunday afternoon cycling on the City's extensive river valley and ravine trail system rather than dodging pedestrians and baby strollers by riding up and down Whyte Avenue between Calgary Trail and 109 Street.

    Tied to special events (street festivals, the Edmonton Marathon, international triathlon and cycling competitions), street closures make sense. Most Edmontonians gladly put up with the inconvenience.

    Correct me if I'm mistaken, but this seems like one of those "let's stick to the motorists" moves that generates unnecessary ill will towards those who advocate for cycling.

  8. #8

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    Not really, but they're really better suited for denser cities where there is a more pronounced lack of non-car public space. I've followed the movement a bit, and it's been very successful in places like Mexico City and in Columbia where there very little park space so rather than just being space for a nice bike ride it provides public space that otherwise doesn't exist. In New York (as Summer Streets) it provides a rare opportunity to enjoy the street without the high-stress and constant high traffic. It almost IS a street festival even without anything going on.

    In our case, though... we don't really have a big lack of public spaces, and only our main streets are unfriendly with traffic - we have quiet streets all over. The value of an open streets event would be the chance to experience our main streets without the car traffic.

    I'll probably be visiting kaleido festival on Alberta Avenue this coming weekend partly because of the chance to experience a street in a different way. That's probably a better approach for a city like Edmonton. Closing streets to cars/opening them to everything else as part of a festival makes more sense than stand-alone.
    There can only be one.

  9. #9

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    Totally agree. As part of a larger festival? I can get behind that. Just to give people a place to cycle or skate around? Ugh, we have that aplenty.

    Honest question: Is cycling, skateboarding, etc. allowed on Churchill and Federal plazas?
    "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction" - Blaise Pascal

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    Clap clap clap.

    Chill dude.

    Maybe look at other examples and how great would it be to change how we live for a day.
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  11. #11

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    Then we really need to think about where it would really do that, and reach a lot of people.

    Without becoming an even that people drive to to walk around, because that doesn't count.

    We just need to be more willing to allow (and encourage) non-car street use, from major festivals right down to block parties.
    There can only be one.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by IanO View Post
    Clap clap clap.

    Chill dude.

    Maybe look at other examples and how great would it be to change how we live for a day.
    I change how I live all the time. Closing a road that tens of thousands use so tens can ride around on a choppy street is just dumb. We have no shortage of places to hold this without having to close an important road.
    "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction" - Blaise Pascal

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    The way they do this basic idea in Ottawa is they close down a few super pretty roads every Sunday from like 9am to 1pm. Two roads along the river and one along the Canal. For one of the river roads, they only close the westbound side, as it's a separated road. Each section of closed road is roughly 8-10km long. Pretty minor car impacts, there are a lot of other road options. No businesses get cut off, just some parking lots along the river.

    For Edmonton, a short example would be closing off River Valley Road. The problem is that that stretch is only 3km, so you're not gaining a lot. Even adding the Groat Bridge and Saskatchewan drive, we only get to 5km. Plus that closes off access to some places like the Victoria Golf Course....

    So I don't know what you would do in Edmonton to have a similar success as the Sunday Bike Day in Ottawa (running since 1970)...

  14. #14

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    This is a pilot... so we really donèt understand or know what will happen until it happens... though, I agree it has to be tied with setting up food/market/retail vendors on the street, promote people to bring chairs, have organizations sponsor certain blocks to set up events or bocce games etc in certain spots and have more than enough garbage bins. The idea that one weekend will be a failure or no one will use it or motorists will be angry is already caving into pre-determining what the unknown is and deciding to do nothing. Might be exaggerating, but I've seen and followed the event in other places and I think we are privileged in some ways but not in others when it comes to using our carriageways for other uses. If people are going to be really upset, we just had bikes roll through Downtown and close off a bunch of roads and everyone survived that? Run a pilot, track info, and gets stats. See what happens. You don't do an experiment and call it a day by saying what will happen before anything happens.
    Live and love... your neighbourhood.

  15. #15

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    It's an important road for people not in cars too though... Jasper and Whyte Ave. I think we can give the road to more people a chance. I think Fringe should have more road closures and so should farmers markets. The Blues Fest on Whyte is HUGE for crowds on the road and Art Walk is a joke for how crowded it is on the sidewalks... cars pass through, and they will or go around. People stay, place make, create crowds, create vibrancy and promote business.
    Live and love... your neighbourhood.

  16. #16

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    Downtown is better - there are viable detours a block away in most cases. Whyte Ave not so much. Or, and this is crazy talk, we could try promoting other parts of the city.
    "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction" - Blaise Pascal

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