Last weekend we headed to Downtown LA for CicLAvia, a non-profit event in which several Los Angeles streets were closed to cars so that pedestrians could bike/walk freely. This event was really cool and felt like a very post-apocalyptic experience – in a good way. What we learned following is that the event not only reduces the risk of bike accidents, but it also improves air quality in the areas the event takes place. A study conducted by UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, published in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Pollution, measured air quality during the October 2014 CicLAvia, which was held in and around downtown LA. As it turns out, during the event, the number of traffic-emitted air pollutants, along with particulate pollution, was obviously reduced. The reported numbers: the presence of ultra fine particles was reduced by 21 percent and readings for particulate matter measuring 2.5 micrometers or smaller declined by 49 percent. Additionally, particulate matter measured in neighborhoods surrounding the event was 12 percent lower on the day of the event, as compared with non-event days. Essentially, having events like CicLAvia, dramatically reduces concentrations of traffic-emitted air pollutants. Hopefully these findings will help to make CicLAvia a monthly event and encourage other Organizers to follow in their footsteps – or shall we say, “footprint.”
Looking to participate in more Earth-friendly bike events? The city of Thousand Oaks is celebrating Halloween with an open streets festival called Spokes in the Oaks from 10 am – 3 pm. You can read about the event on our Radar.