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Get to know your neighborhood

Posted: October 21st, 2016 | Feature, North Park, Top Story, University Heights | No Comments

By Lucia Viti

CicloSDias comes to University Heights, North Park and City Heights

The neighborhoods of University Heights, North Park and City Heights will be in the spotlight when CicloSDias returns to San Diego this month.

“CicloSDias is a chance to experience communities, small businesses and neighbors in a refreshing and enjoyable way, minus the stress of car traffic,” said Andy Hanshaw, executive director of the San Diego Bicycle Coalition, the event’s lead coordinator.

“CicloSDias is for everyone to rediscover the nooks and crannies that make [our local communities] a hub for locals and remember how carefree life can be outside of a car.”

Three miles of city streets will be closed to motorized vehicles from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 30, for residents who want to roll, bike, skate, scoot, stroll, dance or simply meander along the route.

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CicloSDias allows families to take over designated streets for a day of fun. (Courtesy of San Diego Bicycle Coalition)

More than 15,000 people are expected to explore local businesses, meet their neighbors, and enjoy musicians and artists lining shops and eateries along Hamilton Street, sections of 30th Street, and Adams, Lincoln and University avenues.

“CicloSDias is a day to fall back in love with our neighborhoods,” Hanshaw said. “A car-free environment opens eyes and changes minds. Neighborhoods are noticed when cruising under 15 mph, more so than driving at 30 mph. CicloSDias will connect communities in a meaningful way and expose people to the zeal and vibrancy of these neighborhoods.”

Randy Van Vleck, transportation manager for the City Heights Community Development Corporation and a founding member of CicloSDias, said he is working with the City Heights community to create safe venues for walking and riding along streets he described as public assets.

“CicloSDias is a way for residents to enjoy the area by biking, skating, walking, congregating and meeting new people along University Avenue, one of the most beautiful streets of this city,” he said.

“CicloSDias helps our community rethink its streets as a platform to engage in healthy living. Whether it’s music, art, games and fun — we’re building community.”

_webciclosdias-10-30-map-useDescribing CicloSDias as an organic, grassroots celebration that will benefit local businesses, Van Vleck said City Heights community leaders were traveling “door-to-door to spread the word” while business leaders and community members were attending “energetic” planning meetings.

“CicloSDias will stimulate our local economy by encouraging the businesses and neighborhoods of City Heights to engage in ways that enable visitors to enjoy our aesthetically beautiful corridor streets without cars,” he said. “CicloSDias will course through a section of City Heights loaded with mature trees, wide sidewalks and tons of great businesses. It’s hard to connect with the neighborhood when you’re speeding down the street [in a car]. But when walking through with no cars, people can visualize and see their communities in different ways.”

CicloSDias is more than a street fair, Henshaw said.

The San Diego County Bicycle Coalition is a nonprofit that advocates and protects the rights of bicycle riders in order to designate cycling as a mainstream, safe and fun mode of transportation and recreation. Designed to create a wholesome, sustainable and vibrant city-street experience, the coalition vows to reclaim public streets by walking, biking, rolling and running. Their efforts promote a healthy lifestyle of physical activity through outdoor, “people-powered amusement.”

CicloSDias, Henshaw said, is a community venture used to underscore San Diego’s Climate Action Plan and make the city “bike-able, walkable and pedestrian-friendly.”

Although the Bicycle Coalition has led three other CicloSDias through San Diego County, this will be the first trek through these three Uptown and Mid-City communities.

“The Coalition has been the lead organization working with community, city and county partners since San Diego’s first CicloSDias event,” he explained. “Leading the event is important to our mission and to the city’s goal of encouraging more people to bike and walk. We will continue to work closely with San Diego’s partners to produce more CicloSDias events, more often and in more neighborhoods.”

Thousands of people walk, bike, skate, rollerblade on closed-off streets during CicloSDias. (Courtesy of CicloSDias)

Thousands of people walk, bike, skate, rollerblade on closed-off streets during CicloSDias. (Courtesy of CicloSDias)

Hanshaw described CicloSDias as a high-quality event because of the “hard work” poured into the outreach and the bonding of community members, local businesses, residents and neighbors.

“CicoSDias is a collaborative effort of community groups working together to gather funding, partners, local businesses and community member involvement,” he said. “A lot of work goes into coordinating closed-traffic routes to open mobility choices. We hope to maintain enough momentum to build a demand for streets to continually serve feet and non-motorized wheels.”

The route on Oct. 30 will include hubs that will serve as stations for obtaining information, getting bike repair, using portable toilets or purchasing CicloSDias merchandise. Hubs will be located at Adams Avenue at 30th Street; University Avenue at 30th Street; and 38th Street at University Avenue.

The website ciclosdiassd.com has details for parking cars outside of the route and taking buses and trolleys to pedal, walk or skate into the pathway.

Sponsors and partners include the city of San Diego; County of San Diego; San Diego Police Department; California Office of Traffic Safety; Beyond Normal – Normal Heights, Kensington and Adams Avenue Antique Row; North Park Main Street; City Heights Business Association; City Heights Community Development Corporation; The Automatic Brewing Company; Circulate San Diego; Bike San Diego, Bike Coalition San Diego County; The Lafayette Hotel; the Corridor Neighbor Association; the North Park Community Association; and Tiger Tiger!

David Chan, The Lafayette’s marketing manager, said the hotel sees a benefit to the event.

“The Lafayette is excited to support CicloSDias,” Chan said. “CicloSDias is a great way to promote alternative terms of transportation through a gateway of communities often congested with traffic. As a community landmark, The Lafayette recognizes the importance of our presence on a pathway that encourages the growth of the bike environment within an urban setting.”

—Contact Lucia Viti at luciaviti@roadrunner.com.

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