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Thousands Flock To San Fernando Valley's First CicLAvia

STUDIO CITY ( — While the lights were flashing red, the wheels kept turning as the Valley welcomed CicLAvia on Sunday.

Thousands of foot-pedaled vehicles took over the pavement on Ventura and Lankershim boulevards for seven hours Sunday, just as they have in similar CicLAvia event across Los Angeles since 2010.

Some cycled, some scooted, while others enjoyed the ride.

"We just think it's great to get out of cars and enjoy what's out there," bicyclist Melissa Baez told CBS2's Joy Benedict.

The Baez family, who came from Hacienda Heights, are CicLAvia regulars.

"It's not a race," said Al Baez "It's just a time to have fun."

With 5½ miles of open road in the eastern San Fernando Valley, many participants saw something new.

"Good to see a different part of town," said bicyclist Natalia Baudin. "I hardly ever some to the valley."

And that is what local businesses were hoping for, but with less parking and street closures, vendors were worried.

"It really worried us because this is our cash flow here, to keep us going," said Lois Keller of Nary Dairy, a vegan cheese vendor at the Studio City Farmers Market.

Keller was worried about traffic, or a lack of it. But it didn't take long for her fears to calm — with a bike valet nearby, the customers came.

Some restaurants along Ventura offered lunch specials, and brunch spot Jumpin Java was jumping, and about a third of their customers were new face.

"We just got here," said bicyclist Ani Montano. "So we just happened to see this place and decided to get a quick bite to eat."

But business wasnt booming everywhere. A Shell gasoline station had CicLAvia on one side and the Studio City Farmer's Market on the other, so it wasn't selling much gas.

And the wheels were were not spinning at Lotus Kitty Fitness, where classes were only about a third full.

"Normally this is a sold out day, but there's no place to park," said Vanessa Giorgio.

People were turning around, and getting around by car meant turning around a lot, leaving one driver to exclaim "It's not convenient!"

But even those displaced, or losing money, admitted the event created a good look for our car-dependent city.

"Our business is gonna deal with one day," said Giorgio, "and I think it's a great event."

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