Turn off your engines and hop on a bike or lace up the walking shoes because CicLAvia is taking over a few streets in the Los Angeles area as it returns with its biggest season to date.
“Imagine streets without cars and full of people using not only bikes, but walking, running, skateboarding, skating and folks in wheelchairs rediscovering communities and reconnecting with their communities and neighbors,” said Romel Pascual, executive director of CicLAvia.
“What CicLAvia offers is a safe space for us to be able to gather,” he added.
CicLAvia launches its 2023 season on Sunday, Feb. 26 in the San Fernando Valley with a five-mile route that will traverse parts of Reseda and Canoga Park along Sherman Way between Lindley and Shoup avenues.
Since 2010, the citywide event has closed certain stretches of streets to motorized traffic and given them over alternative forms of transportation. This is the second time CicLAvia has used this particular route in the Valley since the first on this street took place in 2019.
Though there are typically five events per year, this CicLAvia season has a total of eight through December including two CicLAmini events. These happenings feature shorter routes meant to encourage people to walk the streets. Upcoming events include April 16 at Mid-City and Pico Union; May 21 a CicLAmini in Watts; June 18 in South Los Angeles at Vermont Avenue; Aug. 20 in Koreatown and Hollywood; Sept. 17 a CicLAmini in North Hollywood; Oct. 15 in the heart of downtown Los Angeles; and Dec. 3 in Leimert Park and South Central. More information and exact routes will be available at ciclavia.org closer to the event dates.
Along the CicLaVia paths are several hub zones that include games for kids, giveaways and several food trucks for snacks and drinks. Participants of the Feb. 26 event can start from either end of the route. Since one of the primary goals of CicLAvia is to encourage Southern Californians to explore new neighborhoods, we’ve come up with five places worth stopping to check out.
The first stop-worthy landmark comes just near Reseda Boulevard. Along the side of the now shuttered 1940s-era Reseda Theater is an impressive and massive mural recently painted as part of the Reseda Rising project. The mural consists of eight different sections painted by several artists and all meant to depict facets of the San Fernando Valley, from its local ecology to indigenous history.
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It’s a sign
One of the most famous photo and selfie spots in Las Vegas is the city’s famous welcome sign. Reseda also has a sign that makes for great social media content. In between Crebs Avenue and Wilbur Avenue in the middle of the street, there’s a colorful vintage sign with the city name printed in vertical blue and yellow block letters. Since it’s located on an median and in a spot with lots of traffic, taking a photo in front of the iconic sign with the road shutdown to vehicles during CicLAvia is the safest option.
There is a can’t-miss green, 75-foot-tall majestic Queen Anne style house located next to a car dealership and an old mechanic shop near Corbin Avenue. However it isn’t a vintage Victorian home at all because, according to CicLAvia, it was constructed out of salvage pieces of a retirement home in Boyle Heights and opened as an office building in 1981. It’s private property and it will likely be closed during the event, but it’s worth a look close up.
Near the CicLAvia hub on Winnetka Avenue, keep your eyes peeled for the Madrid Theater on Owensmouth Avenue. It’s currently closed for renovation, but it has a long history with the city. The original Madrid Theater opened in 1926 as a silent movie house and was one of the first buildings erected in Canoga Park. It was destroyed by the Northridge earthquake in 1994 and reopened again in 1998. It’s slated to undergo a complete renovation that will take about two years, so check out the old building now before its updated.
If you skipped the food trucks along the path or wanted to kick off your adventure with some good grub, there’s a delicious spot located near one of the starting/stopping points of CicLAvia. Cavaretta’s Italian Deli in Canoga Park is a Valley gem that’s been open since 1959. The place is pretty much a time capsule with pictures and old posters on the walls and shelves stocked with imported olive oil and cans of tomato sauces. They make big sandwiches, including their signature Italian sub, as well as lasagna sold by the slice and cannoli made fresh every morning.
CicLAvia: The Valley
When: 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 26
Where: Reseda and Canoga Park on Sherman Way between Lindley and Shoup avenues
Cost: Free to participate. Get more information at ciclavia.org.