Lynwood Press The Press

CicLAvia coming to Southeast area May 15

HUNTINGTON PARK — About 10 miles of major streets here and in the cities of Los Angeles, Lynwood, South Gate and Los Angeles County will be closed to vehicles from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 15 for the first CicLAvia open street program in the Southeast area.

During that time, the streets will be open to bicycle riders, roller skaters, skateboarders and pedestrians, said Fernanda Palacios of the Huntington Park Community Development Department.

In a report to the City Council Jan. 19, Palacios explained that Huntington Park has volunteered to be the lead agency in distributing a $598,515 grant from the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority and matching funds of $194,235 from participating cities. Total cost is estimated at $792,750.

Street closures will include:

• Pacific Boulevard between Florence Avenue and Gage Avenue in Huntington  Park.

• Long Beach and Firestone boulevards in unincorporated Los Angeles County, generally south from Huntington Park through Walnut Park.

• Tweedy and Long Beach boulevards in South Gate.

• State Street in Lynwood.

• And Central Avenue and 103rd Street in the Watts area of Los Angeles, where the closures end near the Watts Towers Art Zone.

Participants may enter and leave the streets at any time and any place, Palacios said.

Fund distribution includes:

The MTA has provided funding, which includes $32,000 for Lynwood, which must put up $8,000 in matching city funds; $42,000 for the city of Los Angeles, with matching funds of $10,500; $45,000 for Huntington Park, with $8,750 in city matching funds; $46,000 for Los Angeles County, with matching funds of $11,500; $118,000 for South Gate, with matching city funds of $29,500; and $315,515 to CicLAvia, a nonprofit organization based in Los Angeles, with $125,985 in matching funds.

Palacios explained that CicLAvia will be in charge of coordinating the event, making contact with the involved government agencies and affected merchants, promoting the event, coordinating a traffic management plan, overseeing volunteers, setting up of hub areas, providing signs and collecting data in cooperation with UCLA and the Rand Corporation.

As lead agency, Huntington Park will be in charge of entertainment, such as providing local bands and programming at the hubs, Palocios added.

Romel Pascual, executive director of CicLAvia, told the City Council there are numerous benefits to participating cities, such as health (promoting exercise), reduction of air pollution and promoting public transportation.

Questioned by the council, City Manager Edgar Cisneros said the MTA grant funds may not be used for “something else.”

Arthur Schaper, a Torrance resident, was the only dissenter of the plan, saying closing the streets would adversely affect merchants and inconvenience the general public.

Pascual said thousands of people have participated in the event in other parts of Los Angeles.

Many merchants on the closed street sections set up sidewalk sales and restaurants offer outdoor dining for that day. Many have told him business was good on those days and they have received repeat customers, Pascual said.

The City Council approved the plan on a unanimous vote.

Downey plans a similar event called Ride and Stride from 10 2 p.m. May 1.

A meeting at the Barbara J. Riley Community and Senior Center,  7810 Quill Drive in Downey, is planned for 9 a.m. Feb. 13 at 9 a.m. for residents, volunteers and vendors.