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Nonprofit CicLAvia marches toward April event with Kickstarter campaign

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Hundreds of thousands of car-dominated Angelenos have abandoned their vehicles (for a day) to participate in CicLAvia's traveling block parties since 2010 when the local group took its first giant step for urban-kind.

CicLAvia, the free wheeling, street closing, public event throwing organization that periodically shuts down roads to car traffic, kicked off a Kickstarter campaign Tuesday in support of their upcoming April 15 happening.

The donor-funded and City of Los Angeles supported organization -- which aims to get people out of their vehicles and interacting with each other and the city -- became an official non-profit operation in September 2011, board member Heidi Zeller told KPCC.

CicLAvia's events are free, but the $12,000 Kickstarter goal is not as much a financial necessity as it is a fundraising effort to raise community involvement, Zeller explained.

"We want all Angelenos to feel like CicLAvia belongs to them," Zeller emphasized, and the Kickstarter campaign offers a personal stake in CicLAvia's success with a chance to literally buy into the mission.

The mission, of connecting neighborhoods and encouraging healthy communities via safe and open streets, is inspired by the Colombian "Ciclovía" movement, where every Sunday the city prohibits car traffic on 80 miles of roads.

In transforming L.A. from urban sprawl to intimate region, participants of all ages, backgrounds and persuasions get a dose of physical activity while enjoying architecture, people, and even whole neighborhoods, that can go unnoticed in a car. 

CicLAvia, which hopes to increase the number of events to four in 2013, operates with support from the Mayor’s office, City Council, Dept. of Transportation, and police and fire departments, say organizers.