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Not A Car In Sight For LA Bike Event

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Vehicles were banned from several miles of Los Angeles streets Sunday to give pedestrians and bicyclists a traffic-free chance to explore the City of Angels.

The inaugural "CicLAvia" closed off a 7.5-mile route from East Hollywood to Boyle Heights. Unlike marathons and triathlons, transit workers were on hand to allow vehicles across the bike and pedestrian route at 13 major streets, as well as four freeway bridges.

Temperatures were in the low 80s as hundreds of people walked, rode and skated on pavement normally hogged by cars and trucks.

The L.A. event was patterned after the worldwide trend called "cyclovia" that started in Bogota, Colombia, more than 30 years ago to encourage physical activity and draw community members together. It was also envisioned as a way to fight congestion and pollution.

Other cities that have embraced the concept are New York City, Chicago, Miami, Baltimore, Portland, Ore., and Guadalajara, Mexico.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said he hopes CicLAvia will become a tradition in Los Angeles.

"It is my hope that CicLAvia is not just a one-time event, but merely the beginning of a shift in the culture of Los Angeles away from the single-passenger automobile and towards healthy and environmentally-friendly modes of transportation," he said.

The event is expected to cost about $240,000, with the city shouldering half the tab and the rest coming from private donors and other sources.

(©2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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