ciclovia – street liberation

Last Sunday, to promote sustainability, the City closed Pearl Street between 15th Street and Folsom, essentially extending the pedestrian mall eastward.  However, this closure was temporary and open to bikes, dogs, and wheels of all types.  There were a number of businesses and organizations that set up booths, but the real attraction was the simple pleasure of walking or riding down the middle of the street where on any other day you would be fender-fodder.

Based on the Columbian street fair, ciclovia, the idea was to make a safe, bike and pedestrian zone in the center of the city.  Boulder however is so blessed with so many great places to ride and hike that the impact of these kind of street closures was a bit lost.  In Cambridge, Massachussets, across the river from Boston, a section of Memorial Drive is closed on Sundays and this creates a large, long bike and rollerblade friendly urban space where otherwise none exists.  I don't mean this as a criticism of the event, but the activity on the street was pretty dispersed and lacking energy until the fire fighters appreciation parade started up later in the afternoon.  That space, one of celebration and thanks, filled the street in a way that only a single event can.

I strongly support the idea of temporary street closures - I particularly like how they change the space of the city in unpredictable ways.  However, I feel like this kind of closure should be in a different place in the city, like the Hill or NoBo, a place where the closure would be transformative, rather than an extension of the existing mall. Regardless, more power to the folks that put this together and let's hope the idea continues.  Once people get the idea of filling the streets with something other than cars fully sinks in...