CicLAvia was a huge success and hopefully will help raise awareness and continue to change the culture of the cities that hosted it. While the overall event is set up by the excellent CicLAvia organization, it requires the willing participation and support from the cities involved. The City of La Verne deserves credit for their willingness to try something new and then engage with enthusiasm and commitment as they invested in the CicLAvia event.
The process started several years ago with each City agreeing to participate and submit an application to receive a supporting grant. Not every city that was approached chose to participate, but La Verne did.
The route went through multiple changes during the planning phase. Bonita Avenue has long been one of the more difficult discussions between the City and bicycling advocates. But in the end, the City agreed to allow the use of Bonita. As a result, the City hosted the nicest section of the entire route, flooding its old town businesses with new guests experiencing the best of La Verne for the first time.
On the day of the event, elected leaders and City staff were visible everywhere. And not just “doing their jobs”, they were on bicycles, riding around the city (smiling and maybe wishing it was a little more like this every day). The City hosted a booth where elected officials took turns being accessible, listening, and answering questions…….in other words, using a human scale event to make human connections. And staff members were walking and biking throughout the day, checking on things, making sure everything was going well, and just enjoying the event for themselves.
La Verne Bicycle Coalition is dedicated to helping La Verne reach its potential as a bike-friendly community. La Verne easily could have been one of the cities that choose not to participate, and frankly, this was a huge stretch for the traditional La Verne. But they took the step and embraced the opportunity. They deserve credit and recognition for doing so.