Photo courtesy of geekstinkbreath on Flickr
Yesterday in Downtown Oakland, you could hear birds chirping. Bike bells rang and gears cranked along Broadway, while cops kept cars at bay. From 22nd Street to Seventh and Brush, road blocks cut off motorized traffic so Oaklanders could get a sense for Oaklavia.
Inspired by the Ciclovia festival in Columbia, this "bike path" festival had its first run in Oakland, thanks to the organizers of Walk Oakland Bike Oakland. Several nonprofits lined their booths along the two-mile route, including Oakland Urban Paths; a pedestrian advocacy group that promotes the city's walkways, it is a sister organization under the WOBO umbrella. Other orgs. in included Oaksterdam University, who rolled out education materials and the King of O'dam, Richard Lee, could be seen in the "Cannabis Cruiser" pediab.
Apart from the "Thriller" dance teach-ins and Four square games, several more curb-side attractions steered cyclists off the slow-moving streets. Note for instance the hula-hoopers at Seventh and Jefferson:
Also on Seventh Street, La Borinqueña Mexi-catessen celebrated its 66th birthday in its typical tamale-filled splendor. Oakland City Council member Ignacio De La Fuente came by to salute the Ramos family restaurant. He said it was his first stop for a slice of home when he immigrated from Mexico City:
Riders desirous of a pit stop took a breather at one of the "parklets" in Oakland Oakland. Carrie Harvilla of the East Bay Bicycle Coalition spoke about how green spaces in urban areas create safer streets:
Oaklavia was a great success. While some organizers wondered if San Francisco's Gay Pride celebration pulled numbers from the cycling festival, a sense of anticipation surrounded the next installment of Oaklavia. WOBO and its affiliates hope to raise enough funds to bring the car-free fest to the Fruitvale this fall.