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CicLAvia not just for cyclists; walkers group forms WalkLAvia

By Hayley Fox
Published: Thursday, October 04, 2012, at 12:36PM
Eric Richardson

WalkLAvia will promote walking at this Sunday's CicLAvia event.

Although CicLAvia has become a largely bike-dominated event, the original purpose of the mass street closures was to create open streets for everyone -- from moms with strollers, to walkers and skaters. Deborah Murphy, founder of Los Angeles Walks, is organizing a two hour group walk this Sunday dubbed WalkLAvia, to remind people of the power of the pedestrian.

The walk will coincide with CicLAvia's timing and route, and is meant largely to encourage people to come out and walk, said Murphy. The public is invited to gather at 8th Street and Figueroa at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday and will then head south to Exposition Park. Along the way, urban planner and designer Melani Smith will teach walkers about local history and the My Figueroa Corridor Project -- which includes making Figueroa more pedestrian friendly and installing L.A.'s first protected bike lanes, said Murphy.

She added that although L.A. gets a reputation for being a car-driven city, about 20 percent of trips in the city are walking. We're all pedestrians some of the time, Murphy said, even if it's just walking from your bus stop to work.

Los Angeles Walks was created in 1998 and according to their mission statement is: "dedicated to promoting walking and pedestrian infrastructure in Los Angeles, educating Angelenos and local policymakers concerning the rights and needs of pedestrians of all abilities, and fostering the development of safe and vibrant environments for all pedestrians."

"We're still designing our streets for moving cars instead of moving people," Murphy added.

Because everyone's a pedestrian, no one thinks they need to be advocated for, said Murphy, as opposed to cycling which has a robust community and strong activist groups.

"If you're going to buy a bike and you're going to ride it, you're an advocate just by riding," she said.

This will be the first official WalkLAvia event, and L.A. Walks promises participants seed bombs, popsicles, jump ropes and bubbles. L.A. Walks said there are multiple Blue Line and Expo Line stops along their route to South L.A., so people can meet up with the group at any point.

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