Tucson takes it up a notch: Cyclovia Tucson

In Arizona, members of Sustainable Tucson, 29th Official Transition Initiative in the US, have been collaborating with the folks planning Cyclovia for Tucson. The Inaugural Cyclovia Tucson took place on April 18th, 2010, within the comfortable traffic free city streets, public parks and areas in-and around the University of Arizona. The 5-mile people friendly street-promenade provided residents and visitors to its diverse urban neighborhoods with opportunities to experience a fantastic menu of fun activities. Here's a recap of the event from Oscar Gandy of Sustainable Tucson (thanks also to Jerry Shapins, organizer of Cyclovia Tucson).
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Already rated 9th among bike-friendly cities by Bicycling Magazine, Tucson has made it clear that coasting is not what it has in mind. Last month, Tucson had yet another outstanding success along its path to sustainability. With sponsorship from Tucson Medical Center and dozens of cycling and recreational supporters, Cyclovia Tucson held the first of what promises to be a focal point of springtime reawaking for years to come.
 

  Photos by Melanie Meyers (see original)

 
Cyclovia is a celebratory expansion of the Spanish term for “bike path” into a process that involves the temporary, or in some cases, permanent closing of streets to automotive traffic. Following the great success of initiatives in Bogotá, Columbia, a Cyclovia movement has expanded worldwide, with notable success in cities ranging from Cleveland, Ohio, El Paso, Texas, to Portland, Oregon. Wikipedia describes the growth and early success of this movement in great detail.
 
As the public artist who created the Broadway Underpass murals which celebrate the power of a vibrant pedestrian life to create a vibrant community, I strongly support Cyclovia Tucson. As the State Representative who has led efforts to build a true multimodal transportation system featuring Tucson's Modern Streetcar, buses, bikes, and sidewalks on an equal basis with cars, I strongly support Cyclovia Tucson.No matter how good a person you are, when you are driving alone in your car, everyone else is simply in your way. If you are in a bus or train, or on foot or bike, everyone else you encounter is a friend you haven't yet met. Events like Cyclovia Tucson bring people together to reclaim our streets for people, not simply cars. In this way, we not only improve our physical and psychological health, we build a strong sense of community to improve the quality of all our lives.
 
I applaud the organizers of Cyclovia Tucson for making our community a better place, and I am honored to participate in the efforts." -- says Steve Farley
In response to the efforts of its energetic planners the Pima County Board of Supervisors declare April 12-18 “Cyclovia Tucson Week.” And, with support from the mayor’s office and two city council wards, several neighborhoods closed their streets to motor vehicles on four hours on Sunday, April 18th. This meant that hundreds of people, young and old, on wheels and heels could enjoy their city in a uniquely satisfying way.
 
Cyclovia Tucson included an impressive array of activities coordinated with its many partners that included:
  • Workshops on bees, honey and candle making
  • Solar energy and water harvesting demonstrations
  • Street basketball, bean bag tossing, face painting
  • Strength conditioning and “wiggle your knees” dancing
  • Decorating bikes with fur and flowers
  • Bike maintenance workshops
  • And lots of live music and dancing
Tucsonan Melanie Meyers posted an extended report of the event with dozens of pictures, and you can enjoy still others impressions posted at TucsonVelo.com. Stay connected for more good news from Tucson at www.sustainabletucson.org and www.cycloviatucson.org.
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For a real sense of the scope of Cyclovia-style events, watch the video below from Streetfilms, which documents the Bogotá Cyclovia.
 

 

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