Main Street day includes KC’s first cyclovia

An “imagining” of what the cyclovia on Main Street might look like this coming Saturday, when streets are blocked off to automobiles and Main Street turns into an open-air marketplace. Courtesy MainCor.

This year’s Main Street Day on Sept. 7, sponsored by MainCor, features a new event in Kansas City history – a cyclovia.

Main Street Day day kicks off with the Main Street Mile, the sixth-annual mile-long race for families and competitive runners at 11 a.m. The race runs from Linwood to St. Paul’s Episcopal Day School. Once the last runners hit the finish line, the cyclovia begins. Main Street will be closed from 34th to 40th Street, with through-traffic stops at Armour Blvd. and 39th Street.

Cyclovia (also spelled ciclovia) means bike path in Spanish, and has come to describe temporary periods when city streets are closed to cars.

That allows people to take to the streets on foot, bicycle, roller skates or other non-automobile form of transportation. The events have become widely popular in other cities.

Here’s more from the Main Street Day webpage.

Originating as Ciclovía in Bogotá Columbia in the mid- 1970s, this type of event has seen a near-exponential growth in popularity. Today, there are 33 cities that now have weekly Cyclovia events, and an additional 75 cities that host Cyclovias every year.

  • In Bogotá Columbia, where it originated, the event attracts as many as 1.8 million cyclists every Sunday on over 70 miles of busy arterials.
  • The most notable one in the United States is Los Angeles’s biannual CicLAvia. Starting in 2010, the last four CicLAvias saw over 100,000 participants and is growing.

In the US, Ciclovia goes by a variety of names. In St. Louis it’s called Open Streets. In Chicago, Sunday Parkways. In New York, Summer Streets. And in Atlanta it’s called Streets Alive.

Here’s how MainCor describes the significance of the cyclovia:
“Kansas City is known for its iconic parkways and boulevards, but rarely do residents have the opportunity to utilize these streets as places for community building and social interaction. Hopefully this will be just the first of many Cyclovias that celebrate the vitality of the urban core of the city and emphasizes the importance of public spaces and built environments that foster healthy lifestyles and activities. Activities like live music, local food vendors, yoga lessons, and more will transform Main Street into a public space that will provide local residents new opportunities for healthy living, active transportation, and social engagement. Community involvement fosters economic development and a healthy Main Street corridor.”

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