History & Background
Ciclovía, literally “bike path” in Spanish, is a ground-breaking event that started in Bogotá, Colombia. This weekly event draws more than 1.5 million people to walk, bike, skate and enjoy more than 70 miles of streets opened to people – and closed to automobile traffic – every week.
Nearly 20 percent of this city’s population turns out every Sunday and holiday to participate in the 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. closures, which include unparalleled free recreation and social opportunities, including dance and yoga lessons in the city’s streets and local parks.
Bogotá has the distinction of hosting the biggest and longest-running Ciclovía in the world. Founded in 1976, it started small and grew in the 90’s under the Mayor and the Parks Director, Enrique and Guillermo Peñalosa. By 1996 it was recognized as the most important recreational activity in the country. The route was extended to 50 miles in 1997 and events to appeal to non-cyclists were added.
“Aerobics on the Way” soon began to attract new people to the Ciclovía and the City set a world record by having over 37,000 people performing aerobics on the same stage at one time. Activities for skaters and joggers were created to continue to widen the appeal.
Bogotá was careful when expanding their Sunday event to choose routes that connect neighborhoods. The original route was mostly centered on the northern end of the city.
Now the Ciclovía covers 70 percent of the 20 neighborhoods, with four loops through the city, enticing people to walk, skate, or cycle to other neighborhoods, visit friends and take their children to different neighborhood parks to play.
Ciclovías in North America
The ciclovía movement has a presence in the North America dating back over 25 years. Among the oldest, started in 1983, is Wayne County, Michigan’s “Saturday in the Park,” in which a six-mile stretch of the Edward Hines Parkway is closed to motorized traffic every Saturday from May through September. By the late 2000s, the concept had spread to a number of U.S. cities including Cleveland, Philadelphia, New York, and Portland, OR. Today, ciclovía-style events take place in over 30 communities around the U.S. and Canada.
View North American Ciclovias in a larger map
Media Coverage & Resources
Below is a collection of videos, articles, and other resources related to ciclovías and the livable streets movement around the U.S. and the world. (For coverage of the inaugural Atlanta Streets Alive! on May 23, please see our Media Coverage section.)
Coverage of Ciclovias Around the World
- StreetFilms: “Bogotá, Columbia: The world’s biggest & longest running Ciclovía” by Clarence Eckerson, Jr., Dec 1, 2007
- StreetFilms: “New York City’s Summer Streets” by Clarence Eckerson, Jr., Dec 9, 2008
- Christian Science Monitor: “On the rise in American cities: the car-free zone” by Daniel B. Wood, May 2, 2007
- Next American City: “Summer streets gain prominence nationwide” by , Jun 1, 2010
- Streetsblog SF: “San Jose Celebrates First ViaVelo, Opens Downtown Streets to People” by Matthew Roth, Jan 0, 1900
- StudioMezz: “Wheel Change” by Lucy Wang, Jul 12, 2010
Other Livable Streets Resources
- Creative Loafing: “How to Ride a Bicycle in Atlanta – The Rise of Cycling in a bike-unfriendly city” by Thomas Wheatley, Jul 01, 2010
- Atlanta Journal Constitution: “Atlanta Does National Bike Month” by Ariel Hart, May 12, 2010
- SaportaReport: “Closing of our city’s streets to cars brings Atlanta to life” by Maria Saporta, May 10, 2010
- In Infrastructurist: “Huh?! 4 Cases of How Tearing Down a Highway Can Relieve Traffic Jams (And Save Your City)” by Yonah Freemark & Jebediah Reed, Jul 06, 2009
- Streetsblog Network: “A New Day for Atlanta – and for Urbanism?” by Sarah Goodyear, Jan 23, 2009
- Worldchanging: “Bike, Meet the City. City, This is the Bike.” by Mary Catherine O’Connor, Jul 18, 2008
- AmericanMakeover.tv: “Sprawlanta” by Paget Films, May 03, 2010
- StreetFilms.org: “Carmaggeddon Averted as Broadway Comes to Life” by Clarence Eckerson, Jr., Jul 20, 2009
- StreetFilms.org: ““Transportation Freedom” in DC” by Clarence Eckerson, Jr., Jul 02, 2009
- YouTube: “BeltLine to connect Atlanta via transit, trails, greenspace & new development“
- CNN: “Bike ride connects people to their food” by Chris Hrubesh & William Armsby, May 29, 2010
- Atlanta Pecha Kucha: “WANTED: Food Trucks” by Christiane Lauterbach, Oct 18, 2009
- Atlanta Pecha Kucha: “Hot Lunch Ladies & the Street Vendor Brigade” by April Leigh, Nov 15, 2009
- StreetFilms.org: “Making a Better Market Street in San Francisco” by John Hamilton, Dec 14, 2009
- StreetFilms.org: “Brooklyn Students Paint the Streets” by Clarence Eckerson, Jr., May 18, 2009
- StreetFilms.org: “Cycling Copenhagen, Through North American Eyes” by Clarence Eckerson, Jr., Jul 15, 2010
- StreetFilms.org: “Cycle Chic in Copenhagen and Beyond” by Elizabeth Press, May 24, 2010
- StreetFilms.org: “The Street Life of Havannah” by Nick Whitaker, Feb 25, 2010
- StreetFilms.org: “Los Angeles’ Ecovillage” by Nick Whitaker, Jan 26, 2009