If you have ever driven through downtown Los Angeles, whether in rush hour traffic or not, you are probably well aware of the horrible gridlock that regularly turns city streets into virtual parking lots. You may also be aware of the stifling pollution that rises above the streets and hovers like a blanket covering the city. In all honesty, most LA residents have gotten used to smelling, tasting and breathing the exhaust pollutants and vehicle-generated toxins that fill the air. That doesn’t make it safe however. It is this type of pollution that can lead to breathing problems, lung issues and other health scares. It is also very costly in terms of city maintenance, repairs and cleanup. The 2013 State of the Air report from the American Lung Association gives the entire county of Los Angeles an “F” for ozone levels, and “F” for particulate pollution over a 24-hour period, and a “fail” on annual particle pollution.
Now, it isn’t as if no actions have been taken or measures have been put in place to help curb vehicle emissions, but as long as motor vehicles remain as a primary source of transportation in major cities, there will be little to no real change. That being said, wouldn’t it be better to get rid of all the cars, trucks, delivery vans and other vehicles that are making the city of Los Angeles such an unhealthy place to live and work? Of course it would. The question is…how will a change like that actually come to fruition? The answer: CicLAvia and WalkLAvia.
That’s right. LA’s favorite car-free transportation event will be taking over the city once again on Sunday, October 6th. CicLAvia hosts these type of events in an effort to further educate the general public (and local government) on the benefits of having healthy, eco-friendly modes of transportation, open spaces and fresh air even in the heart of LA. This Sunday’s event, named “CicLAvia – Heart of LA” is only one of many events the nonprofit will be hosting over the next few years thanks to a generous $500,000 grant CicLAvia recently received. Los Angeles Walks will also be hosting their annual WalkLAvia event along the same downtown routes.
I know these events are only held a few times a year and it isn’t as if the entire city goes car-free, but trust me when I say every bit makes a difference. People want the freedom to ride through the streets of LA. They want to walk through the city streets without having to breathe in car exhaust and other harmful toxins. They want to do both of these things without having to compete with bumper to bumper traffic. On top of all that, think of all the sites that can be seen and the people you can meet while biking or walking through the streets of LA, sans cars. So, if you are anywhere near downtown Los Angeles this Sunday (October 6th) I recommend indulging in a truly healthy form of transportation at CicLAvia and WalkLAvia – Heart of LA!