120,000 People, 0 Cars

For a short time on Sunday, streets were liberated from automobiles in Los Angeles and Atlanta — and thousands of residents flooded into their reclaimed public space.

With the roads closed to cars, more than 100,000 Angelenos and 20,000 Atlantans took advantage by biking, walking and celebrating community in a variety of creative and active ways. Both initiated in 2010, CicLAvia and Atlanta Streets Alive are just two of the growing number of open streets events nationwide. In fact, according to the Alliance for Biking & Walking’s Open Streets Project, the movement in North America has grown from only 11 initiatives in 2005 to more than 80 this year.

According to The Los Angeles Times, CicLAvia has become so popular that organizers are optimistic about more frequent events:

Los Angeles held its first CicLAvia in October 2010, blocking off more than seven miles of streets from Boyle Heights to East Hollywood. There have been four others since, including Sunday’s, and the event remains hugely popular.

Before that first L.A. event, it perhaps seemed optimistic to imagine 100,000 people coming out to participate. But now drawing such a crowd is par for the course, and CicLAvia is working to expand into other parts of the city and other cities in L.A. County. Already, the route has been inching farther and farther into South and East Los Angeles.