Closing Riverside Drive at Pony Pasture for a Ciclovia?

The Byrd Theater hosted the “Vision20″ Richmond Strategic Multimodal Transportation Plan, pecha kucha style. Ross Catrow of RVANews was in attendance, explained “pecha kucha” and has an entertaining and informative write-up on the presentations. We’re going to focus on another new word to Richmond: Ciclovia.  Northsider and cycling enthusiast Amy George introduced the term Ciclovia [Wikipedia] during […]

The Byrd Theater hosted the “Vision20” Richmond Strategic Multimodal Transportation Plan, pecha kucha style. Ross Catrow of RVANews was in attendance, explained “pecha kucha” and has an entertaining and informative write-up on the presentations. We’re going to focus on another new word to Richmond: Ciclovia. 

Northsider and cycling enthusiast Amy George introduced the term Ciclovia [Wikipedia] during her presentation and her attempts to start one in Richmond. The idea is to temporarily close down streets to vehicular traffic for a biking & walking festival. George is proposing closing 3.7 miles of Cary Street from Carytown to Shockoe Bottom on a Sunday for a Ciclovia RVA festival. 

I’d certainly support that event and the idea of a Ciclovia is intriguing. We already have road closures during the Easter Parade on Monument Avenue or for running events like the Richmond Marathon and Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10K. This could easily happen in the James River Park, for relatively no cost.

A Sunday Ciclovia on a one-mile stretch of Riverside Drive between Pony Pasture and Rockfalls Drive would be easy to do and a good way to introduce the idea to Richmond. There are always people walking, running and biking along that road that have to compete with vehicles at 25mph speed limits, especially on crowded weekends. Riverside Drive is designated as a Virginia Scenic Byway in that stretch and options have often been discussed for limiting or cutting off traffic on weekends.

Visitors could still use the parking lot for the Ciclovia. Closing the road to vehicles and opening it up to a handful of vendors, artists, kids on bikes, walkers, sight=ers (the James in that stretch is so beautiful)…Come on, it would be pretty cool.

From Amy’s Power Point presentation at the Vision20 event:

What in the world is a Ciclovía?
-A temporary, ‘car-free’ event for non-motorized use: walking, jogging, bicycling, skating

Ciclovía?
-Started in Bogota, Colombia in the 1970’s (‘ciclovía’ is Spanish for ‘Bike Path/Bike Way’)
-Traditionally, on a Sunday (see San Francisco’s Sunday Streets)
-Ranges from several miles (7.5 mi, CicLAvia) to many (Bogota 120km or 75 miles)

Why should Richmond host a  Ciclovía?
-Encourage healthy activity
-Build community
-Economic opportunity for local businesses
-Take advantage of our great weather and historic and natural scenery
-Outreach opportunity for health and safety
-National recognition of our focus on encouraging walking and cycling
-Prepare for events like 2015 World Cycling Championships, 2012 North American Cycle Courier Championships

Who participates in Ciclovía?
-Citizens of all ages, abilities, interests, and incomes
-Richmond-based businesses, especially sports, fitness, and health
-Local restaurants and food vendors
-Nonprofit, government and other groups

Where?
-Proposed: Cary Street from Carytown to Shockoe Bottom 3.7 miles

When?
-Sundays, approximately 6 hours, midday.
-Inaugural event proposed for October 9, 2011
-Quarterly in 2012, monthly 2013, weekly 2014

How?
-Parade/Street Closing Permit
-Traffic and Parking Plan by Department of Public Works
-Costs for event estimated at $10,000-20,000
-Richmond Police Department at approximately 5 ‘permeable intersections’

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Phil Riggan

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