I found the Lexington Bike Summit two years ago to be a very exciting event. At the time it seemed that Lexington was on track to being a top cycling and pedestrian friendly city which makes a lot of sense. The areas around the city are well known for some of the best cycling in the United States. Lexington itself is fairly flat and has a much warmer climate compared to a lot of cities that have huge bike commuter populations. The summit was well attended including a number of city officials (Mayor Newberry who was there for the entire day).
The keynote speaker was Gil Penalosa who works as a consultant for cities that are trying to promote complete streets and alternate methods of transportation. It was at this first (and only as far as I know) Lexington Bike Summit that I first heard about Ciclovia. Ciclovia started out as a weekly event in Bogota, Columbia. Every Sunday, the city (population 7 million) opens up 91 kilometres of roadways to everyone except vehicular traffic. On average, 1.5 million people take to the streets on bikes, roller blades, running, walking and any other method of transportation they can find. There are lots of events set up around the city in side streets and parks along the main routes, like aerobicsclasses for 60,000 people, music, dancing. There are now a number of cities in the US that have regularly scheduled events based on the Ciclovia concept. It’s good healthy safe fun for the whole family.
The Second Sunday event this weekend is Lexington’s Ciclovia and is part of a state wide event. It’s obviously not as big as the event in Bogota but we need to start somewhere.
Starting at 2pm on Sunday (October 11th), Main and Short streets between Mill and Deweese Streets will be closed to cars and open to pedestrians and bikes. While many in Lexington will look at the Second Sunday event in Lexington as just another annoyance in a recent string of closed streets downtown, the real purpose of this event is to get out of your car and see the city and what it has to offer. This year’s event will include music, dancing, martial arts, bike polo, street tennis, group cycling and yoga just to name a few. Check out secondsundayinlex.com for more details.
Mill Street Ped Mall proponents are promoting Second Sunday as a way of showing Lexington how inviting that project could be.
If you are planning on attending, there are lots of great ways to get into the city without worrying about dealing with a lot of traffic. The best way into town is probably by bike, there are bike lanes on Richmond Road and on Main St. once you get into town. You can also use Central Ave. which runs parallel to Main and gets you down to Vine and Rose without having to deal with a lot of car traffic. Rose also has bike lanes if you are coming up from UK or south of there. If you want a real adventure, you can try to work your way up South Limestone on foot or by bike (but be very, very careful). Stop in at some of the business in this area while you are at it. If you just have to drive, keep in mind that many of the streets around town are closed right now, including South Limestone from Euclid up to Vine, and Main Street west of Newtown Pike. Parking at UK might be a good plan and just walking the rest of the way — it’s really not that far — and besides,
that’s the whole point.
(Second Sunday and Second Sunday in Lex both have twitter accounts to follow for more events.)