Friday, September 26, 2008

Ciclovia Is Back in 2008: Month Long Event Celebrates Fitness and Fun in El Paso

The Parks and Recreation Department just issued this press release:

"The City of El Paso Parks and Recreation Department will be “Taking the Parks to the Streets” with the second annual Ciclovia from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. each Sunday in October. (Actual dates are October 5, 12, 19, and 26.) East El Paso will be the location for the Ciclovia as the event will coincide with the booming population in the area providing a fun, festive, family oriented event each Sunday in October.

Bogota, Columbia began the Ciclovia in 1987 by reserving selected streets for pedestrian use only. Now, nearly a million people fill the roads of Bogota every Sunday morning. Ciclovia is a temporary urban space in which neighbors regularly interact with one another and their community through exercise. Streets are closed off to car traffic so that pedestrians, cyclists, rollerbladers and walkers can take over.

El Paso, Texas was the first large city in the United States to host a Ciclovia in May of 2007. The city received awards for Ciclovia last year from the Governor’s office and the Texas State Senate as over 5,000 people participated."

Scenic Sundays was an extremely popular event. Of those who responded to a recent poll on this blog an overwhelming 63% participated most or every week in the 2008 Scenic Sunday program. Whether the City can continue to pay for the program is a matter of concern. According to Open Space Coordinator Shamori Whitt, "the Parks Department does not have the funding to take [Scenic Sundays] on internally. Police absorbed their expenses this year and cannot afford to the same for an entire year."

Mayor Pro-Tem and District Representative Susie Byrd says:

"We didn't track the number of users of the event. I do have a bunch of emails from folks who definitely appreciated it. It is not budgeted for next year. I would like it to be a year round event but the costs for policing it are very expensive. I'm working with police right now to develop a more realistic budget without compromising safety. Once we get that worked out, I would like to look for sponsors for an annual event."

Anyone want to be a sponsor? Contact Representative Byrd.

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