by Melanie Camp.
Six miles of roads on the Westside were car-free on Sunday, March 26 for CicLAvia – Culver City Meets Venice. Bike traffic filled the streets from Grand Ave., to Venice Blvd., to Centinela Ave., and all the way up along Washington Blvd., to Culver City.
Many people used the day as an excuse to get together with friends.
Venice local Anne said she is a big fan of the bike take-over. “It’s amazing all these people came out. A perfect Southern California ringing in of Spring.” Anne had joined friends riding from the Venice Sign all the way up to Culver City and back.
Delaney Maher stuck to the Venice end of the track. She and a group of locals, who all live just east of Lincoln Blvd., had ridden “…to the beach and back about eight times. Including one trip to get burgers at Hinano’s.”
A highlight for Maher was towards the end of the day, with bike traffic light, she and her friends seized an opportunity to lay on the road and take a couple of selfies. “It’s not often you get to sit in the middle of Venice Blvd,” she said.
The lack of cars did nothing to slow customer traffic for neighborhood businesses. A bicycle mechanic at the Recyclist Bike Shop in Mar Vista told Yo! Venice CicLAvia was by far their busiest day of the year.
Alberto and Kristin from Inland Venice with Scott Bennett.
Venice locals and owners of Inland Venice on Venice Blvd., Kristen and Alberto, had arranged a Bennett’s Homemade Ice Cream stand out the front of their shop. “The ice cream sold out by 1:30 pm,” said Scott Bennett who started working for the family business in 1963. He was 6-years old.
Alberto and Kristin told Yo! Venice they loved the family friendly element of the day. “It’s all about the community. The harmony and family time. You can just see it’s good people out there riding their bikes.”
The harmony is official. A 2016 study by the Rand Corporation found local crime dropped 40% on CicLAvia days.
“This was our first year participating in CicLAvia. Next year we’re definitely doing it again. Double the ice cream!” said Alberto.