Time for our own Ciclovia
(updated: Mar 8, 2009)
While I am enjoying Critical Mass, I have my doubts that it can be sustained. The next event is coming up on Friday. The reason I say this is because twice in the past these types of events have been shut down by the coordinated and heavy-handed actions of the authorities, whether it be legit or not. It only takes a few people to get ticketed or worse, and what will happen is the next ride will have much less (or no) riders, until it fades away just like in the past.
What makes this time any different? $4 gas? Global Warming? More awareness of/respect for cycling? I don't know, but I have a plan to leverage this into something way better. I propose a Ciclovia type event where the city closes off streets on a weekend morning to allow people to walk, bike, run, or however they want to get around.
I'd like some help doing this, like coming up with a detailed plan and presenting it to the CFC, then the Wilmington (or New Hanover County) Parks Dept. From experience, it will take time, so the earliest this could happen is next summer time frame. But I think if it does happen, things will start to change for the better around here.
Next year, gas will either be $5 a gallon, if the global economy is robust, or $3 a gallon if our economy continues to go down the toilet. Either way, we're screwed. An event like this will cost the city little and provide great exercise and fun on a local level for next to nothing.
In addition, it will connect communities again which have been isolated for so long by allowing automobiles to dominate the landscape. It will be a community oriented event, rather than a consumer-focused one like every other event in this town (with the exception of the holiday parade). It will demonstrate that you can have a community that is not solely dependent on consumerism via destructive development to be considered "better".
I've been doing weekly (more or less) road rides that roughly circumnavigate the county, and there are lots of low traffic areas where this could be done. If just one lane is closed the possibilities are even greater.
Provide your comments here and we'll go from there. I have also created a petition for this event: Sign the Wilmington Ciclovia Petition. If I get the backing of the CFC as well as signatures it will go a long way to getting this off the ground.
In the meantime, check out this event in bike-friendly Portland. This is exactly what I am imagining.
Portland's Sunday Parkways
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has." -- Margaret Mead
1. eric said...
Whatever I can do to help, I'm there.
Jul 19, 2008 @ 2:56 PM
2. Sir Disappears said...
Very interesting idea, and I would love to see this work out. You know I'm in!
Jul 19, 2008 @ 3:02 PM
3. Murgie said...
I'd love this, being a delicate elderly lady is a good reason to ask for community sponsorship for safe cycling. Heaven knows I don't want to get hit by a car! There are plenty of examples if we look. Maybe an "urban report" for those willing to be educated would help.
San Francisco has always (however long that is..at least 40 years) closed the main arteries through Golden Gate park on Sundays to encourage safe travel for alternative transport and foot. People in cars have gotten use to it, but its a shock if you don't know about it since its a main route to GG Bridge.
Now where will we get a bunch of hippies?
Jul 19, 2008 @ 5:58 PM
4. Reno said...
imo you'd have to have the perfect spot.
Closing roads to vehicles is sure to cause objections from homeowners with access needs on weekends. Having it out in the burbs would kind of defeat the point. Wrightsville Ave? Park Ave? It would have to be centrally located to grab the imagination of the public.
Jul 19, 2008 @ 7:28 PM
5. Michael said...
GreatIdea! Eastwood might be cool because you can close off east-bound for the Ciclovia and have west-bound for automobiles.(splitting the west-bound lanes so cars can travel east and west).It would also allow people to ride to the beach safely on Sundays and not have to worry about parking hassles. Intersections and driveways will have to be well thought out but with enough cooperation it could work.
Jul 19, 2008 @ 8:14 PM
6. Murgie said...
maybe it shouldn't be all about bikes. How about if it was all about health? Take the focus off the cyclists by incorporating, say the diabetes association, other groups that have a lot to gain by allowing people to get off the couch and out of their cars. The unique thing about bikes that always is a conflict is that a limit area doesn't help us, we need distance. But the Portland event wasn't really about bikes. That also broadens the base of what is done in other cities.
Jul 20, 2008 @ 9:41 AM
7. SBA said...
Residents can still get in and out. Just a tiny bit less convenient for a short while. If they gripe about something like that they should be ashamed. They are public streets anyway. So we should try to avoid heavily residential areas. Triathlons do this all the time, and yes, some residents are a-holes about being inconvenienced for a few extra seconds. Maybe I could just rent a semi and go up and down the street at 4am.
Jul 20, 2008 @ 2:47 PM
8. SBA said...
Thanks to everyone who's signed the petition so far. If you haven't signed yet, please consider it. It made a big difference to getting Blue Clay approved, so I know they work.
Here's the link again: Sign the Wilmington Ciclovia Petition
Jul 20, 2008 @ 8:13 PM
9. beachbummer said...
Why dont we have a "biking at the beach" festival seems Wilmington can have a festival for about anything else. It would be cool to shut down streets on the weekend. I think it would bring the sport and the usefulness of bikes to the the fore front.
Jul 21, 2008 @ 7:24 AM
10. tony said...
This should be something scenic that people fail to see while speeding around in their cars. That may help draw more people.
Jul 24, 2008 @ 8:21 PM
11. Grove Project said...
Biking locally, a post on Critical Mass and the Wilmington Ciclovia
Jul 29, 2008 @ 12:25 PM
12. SBA said...
Hey thanks for sharing.
Jul 31, 2008 @ 6:23 PM
Comments are closed.